Four people in bavaria have already contracted tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) this year. Yet the tick season has only just begun, said health minister melanie huml (CSU) in erlangen on tuesday. She therefore urgently advised vaccination, because the infectious disease early summer meningoencephalitis can cause permanent damage such as lameness in severe cases. TBE viruses transmitted by bloodsuckers can cause inflammation of the meninges, brain or spinal cord.
"Three vaccinations within one year are required for complete vaccination protection", explained nikolaus fruhwein, president of the bavarian society for immunology, tropical medicine and vaccination. "Overall, the vaccination is very well contracted and we recommend it especially to people who spend a lot of time in nature."
Last year, there were 123 TBE cases in bavaria – around 50 fewer than in 2013, but 33 more than in 2012. There has been no general decline in the use of the vaccine. "The TBE risk areas in bavaria have expanded considerably in recent years.", said huml. 80 of the 96 bavarian counties or independent cities are now considered risk areas. Most cases have occurred in the upper palatinate and lower bavaria so far. The risk from ticks is highest in the period from april to october. The animals become active as soon as it is at least six to eight degrees celsius during the day for a longer period of time.
About 140 people have contracted the second tick-borne disease, lyme disease, so far this year. In 2014, there were already around 100 more cases in this period. "Lyme borreliosis is around 200 times more common than TBE", said andreas zapf, president of the state office of health. There is no vaccination against borreliosis. But it can be treated with antibiotics. Infection often begins with a red ring that forms around the tick bite. Other symptoms may include muscle and joint pain and fever. If left untreated, late effects such as joint, heart muscle or nerve inflammation are possible.