Tick ​​and mosquito infestation expected in Germany

Tick ​​and mosquito infestation expected in Germany

Wet weather and flood areas ideal for mosquitoes and ticks

Most citizens who have been in parks or nature in the last few days have already noticed: mosquitoes and ticks are particularly numerous this year. Among other things, the flood areas are real breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

It will be known next year whether mosquitoes transmit more diseases
At night when you fall asleep, during the day at the lake or in the park and later at the barbecue: mosquitos annoy! The hum alone stops many from sleeping and only then the itchy, red spots on all possible areas of the body that were not covered. But some of the little beasts sting even through clothes. Perfumed skin and, above all, breath containing carbon dioxide almost act as attractants on mosquitoes, of which only the females bite. Cabbage vegetables seem to scare off the little bloodsuckers. Lemon or lavender oil is often recommended as a natural protective agent, but it also evaporates quickly. Dr. Helge Kampen, head of the laboratory for medical entomology (insect science) at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut Greifswald, explains: "Defense substances such as diethyltoluamide and icaridin have been tested." tropical regions are suitable, and the active ingredient icaridin is used more in European countries.

Kampen explains how the unpleasant buzzing of the mosquitoes, which are also called snakes in southern Germany, comes about: by their wing flapping. This year the plague threatens to become particularly intense due to the wet weather. "There is no scientific evidence for this," says Kampen, but refers to general experience according to which mosquitoes and ticks like it to be moist and warm. Prof. Detlef Michel from the Institute of Virology at the University of Ulm says: "We are increasingly counting on mosquitoes, who lay their eggs especially in the shallow water ", alluding to the flood areas. Therefore, it is also quite possible to be stung more often this year. “However, it cannot be said that the mosquitoes transmit more diseases. Not yet. We only know that in retrospect - next year, "said the virologist.

Prevent the risk of ticks
So if you don't want to spend the summer exclusively in closed, air-conditioned rooms, you can't completely avoid the mosquito plague. However, you can prevent some of the risks from ticks. This is particularly important when you consider the danger that small brown animals (a type of mite) pose: they can transmit TBE and Lyme disease. With its jaw claws, the tick scratches the skin and then pushes its trunk into the wound. So it is a tick bite and not a tick bite, as it is usually called colloquially. On average, every twentieth tick carries the viruses for dangerous early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE), which can lead to meningitis and permanent paralysis, explains Ralph Brodel from the TBE network in Nuremberg. The TBE network is an association to help affected patients. Especially in southern Germany, with a focus on Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, there are many ticks with TBE viruses. Only vaccination offers almost complete protection. This is usually paid by the health insurance company. In 2012 there were 195 cases of reported brain inflammation caused by ticks nationwide. Michel explains: "The number of cases of illness is increasing slightly, as in the past few years" and attributes this to "increased leisure behavior". He also says: "TBE has moved closer to urban areas."

Not to be confused with Lyme disease
TBE, caused by viruses, should not be confused with Lyme disease, which is caused by bacteria. Lyme disease, which is also transmitted by ticks, can affect any organ and there is no vaccination against it. It is therefore particularly important to pay attention to how the place where a tick has been removed develops. For weeks it may still be that a red ring forms on the spot and this so-called blush speaks for Lyme disease. The bluestone dermatologist Dr. Marianna Steinert explains: "Then an antibiotic must be given." Basically, the same applies here: prevention is better than aftercare. You can protect yourself against tick bites by wearing bright clothes that cover your arms and legs, and you should, above all, your body inspect the head again and again, because ticks are very small, preferably with a magnifying glass, then it becomes clear more quickly whether a small dark spot on the skin is possibly a bloodsucker with risk potential. With mosquito bites this is much easier, they itch and mostly has already announced the annoying buzz that the time has come. (ad)

Image: Frank Hollenbach /

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