Diseases by ticks

Worldwide there are about 650 species of ticks. In Germany, it is mainly Ricinus ixodes, the wood buck, which is feared because of the transmission of diseases. Among the diseases caused by this, especially the tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) and Lyme borreliosis (Lyme disease) can have serious consequences. If a tick is infected with a pathogen, a single pass may be enough to spread TBE or Lyme disease to humans. Lyme disease is the most common disease of tick bites in humans. In Germany every year about 200 to 300 times as many people get Lyme disease as a TBE.

What is the risk of getting sick?

The greatest danger is from tick bites from spring to autumn, because the animals are active only from about ten degrees Celsius.

In addition, not every tick harbors the same pathogens: a maximum of five percent of all ticks carry the TBE virus, about 20 percent transmit the Borreliose bacteria - therefore, this disease is also much more common.

It is important to keep in mind that ticks are not only dangerous in southern Germany, where the main risk areas for TBE are. Because the virus spreads for some time in northern areas. In addition, the far greater threat poses by the Borrelisoe bacteria, which can be transmitted by ticks anywhere in Germany. Ticks can be dangerous anywhere in Germany.

Early Summer Meningoencephalitis (TBE)

Early-summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) is a viral disease of the central nervous system (CNS). At the beginning of the disease, flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches occur. About 10 percent of those who are ill develop a second, dangerous phase of the disease after fever-free periods, leading to nerve inflammation and meningitis.

Risk areas: In Germany, the main risk areas are in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. But also the south of Thuringia and Hesse is partially affected. Abroad, Russia and Lithuania have the highest infection rates, as well as the Czech Republic, Slovenia, western Hungary, Lithuania and Poland.

Vaccination against TBE: Effective protection against TBE is provided by timely vaccination. This consists of three partial vaccinations administered at intervals of one month and nine months. As a rule, the body then develops antibodies against the TBE virus and is thus protected against the bite of an infected tick. Already a short time after the second partial vaccination there is an infection protection of about 90 percent. After a full vaccination cycle, there is 98-99 percent protection. A booster vaccine is necessary every 3 to 5 years.

Lyme borreliosis

Lyme borreliosis or Lyme disease is caused by bacteria, the so-called Borrelia. It is the most common tick-borne disease. The risk of developing Lyme disease is everywhere, where there are also ticks. A vaccine against Lyme disease does not exist in Europe, as there are several subtypes.

Symptoms: Around the tick bite, usually after a few days or weeks, a circular reddening develops, which fades in the middle again. That is why the disease is also called mollusc. Anyone who notices such symptoms must consult a doctor immediately, who then prescribes an antibiotic. This is important so that the disease can not be chronified and long-term damage can occur.

The diseases in comparison

Illness:Lyme borreliosisTBE
pathogenBacterium: Borrelia burgdorferiVirus: TBE virus
Where do the pathogens come from?One third of the ticks carry the bacterium - regardless of risk areasSouth Germany, parts of Eastern Europe
vaccinationNoYes
Antibiotic treatment?YesNo
How can you recognize the disease?Circular redness around the stingFlu-like symptoms like headache, body aches
Which organs can be affected?Skin, joints, muscles, nervous system, heartneuralgia
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