Early summer meningoencephalitis and tick bite disease
The risk of tick bites increases significantly with the onset of spring weather. The University of Hohenheim warns that this also increases the risk of Lyme disease or early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE).
A tick bite (also known as a tick bite) can transmit pathogens that cause Lyme disease or early summer meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain / meninges). Both diseases can have significant health problems for those affected and should urgently be treated medically.
TBE has long-term health consequences The pathogens get into the wound of the host when a tick bites, because ticks return the indigestible food residues of the blood back into the wound during the sucking process. Borreliosis and TBE diseases threaten with corresponding long-term health consequences. Dr. Reinhard Kaiser, chief neurologist at the Pforzheim City Clinic, explained that, for example, "around 70 percent of TBE patients (...) suffer lengthy consequential damage". The initial flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches can be followed by significant health damage, such as paralysis, breathing problems, impaired consciousness, speech and balance disorders, including coma or death. "Half of the patients also suffered from paralysis, poor breathing, balance problems or swallowing and speech disorders ten years after the infection," explained the chief physician of neurology, referring to the results of a current long-term study. In addition, 30 percent of the study participants died within ten years of the consequences of early summer meningoencephalitis, Dr. Reinhard Kaiser at a press conference at the University of Hohenheim last week.
Protection against ticks required when staying outdoors After an infection with TBE from a tick bite, especially patients whose brain is also affected by the spinal cord suffer from particularly severe health impairments, explained Dr. Emperor. Overall, only around 20 percent of TBE patients in the long-term study, which was designed to last over ten years, had fully recovered. With the warmer season, people who spend a lot of time outdoors should pay more attention to possible tick bites. When you return home, it is time to search the body for the little bloodsuckers. Long-sleeved tops, long trousers and sturdy shoes also offer relatively good tick protection. Contrary to popular belief that ticks fall from trees, the risk is greatest on grass and meadows. Anyone who notices a tick bite should not try to remove the tick with oil, glue or alcohol. Instead, the tick should be carefully pulled out with fine tweezers, if possible without rotating movements. If those affected do not trust themselves, Dr. advises Kaiser urgently visits the doctor.
Lyme disease infections from tick bites A doctor should also be consulted if, after a tick bite, the flu-like signs of TBE disease - such as fever, headache and body aches - appear or if a large red spot forms around the injection site. This is the typical sign of Lyme disease. In the case of a Lyme disease infection, in addition to the possible reddening of the skin, flu-like symptoms, the so-called “Lyme disease flu”, also follow within two weeks after the tick bite. In addition, there are often significant feelings of fatigue and exhaustion as well as joint and limb pain. Since Lyme disease can manifest itself as a chronic disease, medical treatment should be initiated as early as possible in the initial phase of the disease. Relatively good results can be achieved with antibiotics, which promise healing with a sufficiently high and long dosage.
Chronic Lyme Disease as a Possible Consequence To this day, experts do not agree on the amount and duration of antibiotic dosing for Lyme disease treatment. However, if the disease remains untreated, the pathogens can begin to spread throughout the body and numerous other symptoms such as changing joint pain, disturbances of the sense of touch, visual disturbances and heart problems can be triggered. The borreliosis pathogens affect not only other organs, joints and muscles, but also the central and peripheral nervous system. If treatment is not successful in this second phase of Lyme disease, the disease goes into a chronic stage with constantly recurring symptoms. Therefore, according to the experts, medical care is immediately required for even the smallest characteristics of Lyme disease.
Vaccination against TBE The risk of Lyme disease after a tick bite can hardly be influenced, but TBE can be prevented with the help of a vaccination, said Dr. Kaiser at the press conference at the University of Hohenheim. Possible vaccine complications compared to the massive health risks of a TBE disease are practically negligible, because "with 1.5 cases per million vaccinations, complications are extremely rare," emphasized Dr. However, in view of the minimal risk of illness, the benefits of vaccination can also be questioned somewhat. According to Dr. Isolde Piechotowski from the State Ministry of Labor and Social Order, families and senior citizens annually reports about 100 to 150 cases of TBE in Baden-Württemberg. This means that the TBE risk in Baden-Württemberg is clearly the highest in Germany, and yet the number of diseases is relatively manageable. TBE vaccinations therefore promise little benefit if you do not live in a special risk area and rarely spend time outdoors. Also read Prevent tick bites. (fp)
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