Tropical diseases - infections due to climate change?

Climate change is not coming - it's already there. The scholars are still arguing about whether the climate shift will be permanent or past us. But one thing is already clear: Tropical insects have already made their way to Europe. And that's not just because of low-priced long-haul flights ...

The return of malaria?

Malaria, West Nile fever, leishmaniasis - to name only a few of the original tropical diseases - have come under the eyes of climate and insect researchers. Although there have been malaria epidemics in Germany before, because in the wetlands of East Frisia, for example, for a long time malaria was considered "endemic" - a part of the population was therefore consistently infected with malaria. But the use of pesticides and the drainage of the swamps, the disease could be eradicated here and domestic malaria diseases have not existed since the early 1950s in Germany anymore.

Although there are currently (still) no malaria alarm in the Federal Republic, but the external conditions for the return of the disease have improved dramatically. The mosquito species that transmit malaria are still native to Germany. However, the increased temperatures offer better conditions for the maturation of the malaria pathogen in the mosquito: the "gross temperature" rises to an optimal level.

The advance of the exotics

Another problem is the sandfly, the carrier of the dreaded leishmaniasis. Originally native to the Arabian Mediterranean, she has now arrived in southern France - and there is no reason to assume that she is stopping at the Franco-German border. On the contrary, meanwhile, sandflies, which are otherwise so tiny that they hatch through every mosquito net, have already been found in Baden-Württemberg.

This is dangerous, among other things, because many Mediterranean travelers bring dogs from their vacation trips. These so-called "Ibiza dogs" are often infected with leishmaniasis.

So far in this country lacked the appropriate transmitter, namely the sandfly, to transmit the pathogens of leishmaniasis from the dog to humans. But the arrival of the Sandmücke in Baden-Württemberg makes it clear that the risk of infection is widening.

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