Infectious diseases lagus

Infectious diseases are illnesses caused by infection with certain pathogens – e.g., borreliosis. B. Bacteria and viruses – are caused. Many infectious diseases can be transmitted from person to person, so they are – colloquially – contagious. On this page you will find short descriptions of pathogens of reportable. Frequently occurring infectious diseases.

The current weekly report and the annual report can be found here.

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in Europe.

Pathogens and transmission

Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium that multiplies in the intestines of ticks. When a tick bites, it enters the human body with the secretions of the tick. 5 – 60 % of ticks in Germany are infected with Borrelia, more frequently in the south than in the north (here approx. 7%).

Course of disease

The clinical picture can be divided into
Early- and Late manifestations can be classified. The formerly common classification into stages is no longer used, since there can also be late manifestations without passing through an early stage.

Early manifestations:

The typical manifestation is migratory redness (erythema migrans). The incubation period is a few days to 4 weeks. The erythema may be painless, but it may also be itchy or burning. In addition, there may be nonspecific general complaints. The diagnosis of migratory erythema is a visual diagnosis; blood confirmation is not required.

Acute neuroborreliosis, which can occur as early as three to six weeks after infection, also belongs to the early manifestations. It is characterized by typical clinical symptoms. The most common is a painful inflammation of the nerve root (radiculoneuritis) with paralysis and sensory disturbances (Bannwarth's syndrome). The cranial nerves can also be involved; this can lead to acute hemifacial paralysis and/or double vision due to eye muscle paralysis. Isolated inflammation of the meninges or brain (meningitis or encephalitis) is less common, affecting children more often than adults.

Rarely, there is cardiac Lyme disease with conduction disorders of the heart.

Late manifestations:

Often, months to years after an untreated Borrelia infection, a relapsing or chronic inflammation of the joints (Lyme arthritis) occurs, which can affect one or more joints. Rare manifestations are skin erythema with homogeneous reddish discoloration of the skin and increased vascular markings. Even more rarely, chronic cerebrospinal meningitis can develop years after an untreated infection.

Prevention

Since no vaccine is available yet, the best protection against Lyme disease is to avoid a tick bite.

The following preventive measures should be taken:

– When walking in the forest, use the paths and avoid dense undergrowth, bushes and tall grass; – Wear light-colored, closed clothing (long-sleeved shirt, tuck trouser legs into socks, sturdy shoes, headgear [for small children]); – After leaving the tick areas, carefully search clothing and body for ticks.

If a tick has nevertheless managed to attach itself, it should be removed as soon as possible so that the duration of the sucking act and thus the risk of infection does not increase.The transmission of Borrelia bacteria, which are in the tick's intestine, is at least 12 – 24 h.

The tick should be carefully pulled out directly above the skin on the head with pointed tweezers or tick forceps backwards-upwards (opposite to the direction of the bite). Slight twisting movements before pulling facilitate detachment. Care should be taken not to crush or squash the tick's body and not to cover the tick with oil, ointments or similar substances before removal, as the induced stress could promote the release of the Borrelia bacteria. After removal, wound disinfection should be carried out.

Be sure to see a doctor if there is inflammation at the site of the tick bite or if a ring or area of redness forms around the tick bite.

TBE (early summer meningoencephalitis)

Early summer meningoencephalitis, or TBE, is an infection transmitted to humans by ticks (wood ticks) that can be accompanied by a febrile illness involving the brain and meninges.

Pathogen and transmission route

The causative agent is the TBE virus, which is transmitted by the bite of an infected tick or, in very rare cases, by sheep's or goat's milk containing the pathogen. TBE occurs almost exclusively in designated risk areas. In Germany, these are particularly the districts in southern Germany, especially in Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavaria, southern Hesse and Thuringia. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is not an endemic area. TBE is also widespread in other. Ca. 0,1 – 5% of all ticks in the distribution areas are infected with the virus.

Course of disease/symptoms

Not every infection leads to disease. Of the people bitten by a TBE-infected tick, about one in three becomes ill. In the others the infection proceeds without noticeable signs of illness.

Symptomatic disease typically progresses in two phases.

Phase I: TBE disease begins with moderate fever, headache and aching limbs, similar to influenza, and lasts only a few days.

Phase II: In some of those infected, the virus affects the central nervous system and leads to fever, vomiting and irritation of the meninges after 1 – 2 weeks. Also rigidity of the body. Deep unconsciousness is possible. In rare cases, long-lasting headaches and residual paralysis have been observed as a consequence.

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