Number of TBE cases is increasing: get vaccinated now
The number of reported TBE diseases in Germany has increased again. The disease is transmitted by ticks and, in extreme cases, can be fatal. But you can get vaccinated against the infectious disease. Now is a good time to do it.
The number of TBE cases reached a new record high
The number of early summer meningoencephalitis diseases has increased again. In 2018, 583 TBE cases, almost 100 more diseases than in the previous year (2017: 486), were reported to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Germany. This is the highest number of TBE cases since the introduction of mandatory reporting in 2001. The infectious disease is transmitted by ticks. Above all, people who live in risky prayers or want to travel there should get vaccinated in good time. The Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) advises this.
Ticks can transmit various diseases
Ticks can transmit Lyme disease across Germany, a disease caused by bacteria. It can be of different degrees of severity and primarily affects the skin, nervous system and joints.
TBE, on the other hand, is transmitted by viruses, in most cases this is done by tick bites. In rare cases, TBE can also be transmitted through raw milk from sick goats or sheep, but not from person to person.
Symptoms appear in about a third of those infected with TBE.
First, there are flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting and dizziness.
Some patients also develop meningitis and cerebral inflammation with the risk of spinal cord damage. In extreme cases, the disease is fatal.
You can get vaccinated against TBE. Health experts say vaccination against TBE should be timely.
"It is still time to get vaccinated against TBE before the active time begins outdoors," explains Dr. med. Heidrun Thaiss, head of the BZgA, in a message.
“This does not only apply to travelers who vacation in TBE risk areas. Vaccination against TBE is also important for those who live in high-risk areas, ”says the doctor.
"Anyone who is in such a region outdoors, especially in the forest, is recommended to be vaccinated against TBE."
In addition, it makes sense to follow some tips for protection against ticks.
For example, experts advise putting your pants in your socks when you are out in the undergrowth and wearing long-sleeved clothing. In addition, special insect sprays can keep the little animals away.
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Infection risk, especially in southern Germany
As a rule, an infection risk can be expected from April to September.
According to the BZgA, FSME currently occurs in Germany primarily in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, but also in southern Hesse (Odenwald), in southeastern Thuringia and in Saxony.
The counties of Marburg-Biedenkopf (Central Hesse), Saar-Pfalz-Kreis (Saarland), Birkenfeld (Rhineland-Palatinate) and Emsland (Lower Saxony) are also affected.
This year, the RKI has identified five other counties as new risk areas. In addition to the district of Emsland (Lower Saxony), three districts in Bavaria (LK Garmisch-Partenkirchen, LK Landsberg a. Lech, SK Kaufbeuren) and the district of Saxon Switzerland-Eastern Ore Mountains.
The map with the high-risk areas can be found here.
Subsequent vaccination cannot prevent the disease
As the BZgA further explains, three vaccinations will build longer-term protection against TBE. According to the usual vaccination schedule, depending on the vaccine, the first two vaccinations are given every 14 days or one to three months.
Short-term vaccination protection is available from around 14 days after the second vaccination. A third vaccination is necessary for longer protection. It is administered after a further five or nine to twelve months.
A first refresher is recommended after three years, further refreshments are recommended every three to five years, depending on your age.
If a transmission has already taken place, a subsequent vaccination can no longer prevent the onset of the disease, the experts explain on the portal "infektionsschutz.de". (ad)