April 23, 2024

Science – Tick danger – Two new areas of risk identified – Knowledge

Berlin (dpa) – Two new risk areas for TBE encephalitis, which is mostly transmitted by ticks, have been identified in Germany. It is located in Brandenburg and Thuringia and on the border of known risk areas, reports the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). These are therefore the Frankfurt Metropolitan Area (Oder) and the Altenburger Land District. The number of TBE risk areas in this country rises to 180. This is based on incidence figures reported from 2002 to 2023.

TBE stands for tick-borne encephalitis. According to the RKI, there is a risk of TBE infection primarily in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, in southern Hesse, in southeastern Thuringia, in Saxony and, since 2022, in southeastern Brandenburg. There are also individual risk areas in Central Hesse, Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. However, cases are also possible outside risk areas.

Vaccination is recommended for people coming from risk areas

One consequence of identifying risk areas is that people at risk of a tick bite there should be vaccinated against TBE. This is what the Standing Committee on Vaccination (Stiko) recommends. The RKI assumes that vaccinations against the disease were insufficient in these areas. Last year, a total of 475 cases of TB were reported in this country, most of them between May and October. Almost all those infected have not been vaccinated or have not been adequately vaccinated. In most cases, infection with viruses occurs without symptoms.

“If there is a tick infestation, the tick should always be removed immediately and the wound should be disinfected if possible,” RKI wrote. Vaccination provides the most reliable protection against TBE. However, there is no vaccination for Lyme disease, which is also transmitted by ticks and occurs throughout the country.

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