New cases of the West Nile virus detected in Germany

New cases of the West Nile virus detected in Germany

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Tropical virus: further spread of the West Nile virus

Cases of the West Nile Virus (WNV) have been detected in various regions in Germany in recent months. The pathogen has apparently spread further. Now the first WNV records from South Brandenburg are reported.

Four officially confirmed cases of the West Nile Virus (WNV) have been detected in the district of Spree-Neisse and the city of Cottbus. This was announced by the district of Spree-Neisse in a press release. The pathogen with which humans can also become infected has only recently been found in Germany. However, West Nile virus cases have been reported in numerous regions since the first occurrence.

Pathogen apparently hibernated in Germany

After the West Nile Virus (WNV) was first detected in twelve birds and two horses in Germany in 2018, the assumption that the tropical virus overwintered in Germany intensified in July 2019. "In 2019, 81 cases have been reported across Germany (concentrated on Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Berlin and Brandenburg), including four officially confirmed results from the district of Spree-Neiße and the city of Cottbus," the district's statement said.

Horses should be vaccinated

It is pointed out that infection with the virus has been a notifiable animal disease since 2009 and can cause diseases in birds and horses, but also in humans. There are various approved WNV vaccines for horses. The Veterinary Office recommends horse owners to effectively protect their animals from the clinical symptoms of infection by vaccination. Because not every infection must be clinically noticeable, a blood test can be carried out before the vaccination, the result of which may have an effect on the vaccination schedule.

First infection of a person in Germany

"The WNV originally comes from Africa, but is now widespread in most continents (Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, North, Central and South America), often in tropical regions," writes the State Office for Consumer Protection in Saxony-Anhalt his website. Humans can also become infected.

The first West Nile virus infection in Germany was reported last year. At that time, the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety (LGL) explained in a statement that a veterinarian in Bavaria had West Nile fever a few days after the autopsy of a bird that had died of West Nile virus. According to the LGL, the virus was most likely transmitted through direct contact with the body fluids of the bird that contained the pathogen. "This is the first known transmission of West Nile virus to a human being within Germany," said the LGL.

Protect against mosquito bites

About 80 percent of human infections are without symptoms and almost 20 percent with mostly mild and non-specific symptoms such as fever or rash. "In less than one percent of infections, however, there is a severe, highly febrile course of the disease with meningitis or encephalitis, which can lead to permanent neurological damage and in rare cases ends fatally," said the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI) in one older notice.

So far there is no vaccination for humans. As with other mosquito-borne diseases, preventive measures to prevent mosquito bites through appropriate clothing and repellents (insect repellents) and the reduction of possible breeding grounds are among the protective measures. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Video: West Nile Virus detected in mosquito in Massachusetts (June 2022).


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