Ticks grow up to 4mm in size. Picture source: Tamara Hoffmann / pixelio.
Lyme disease and TBE (early summer meningoencephalitis) are the most common tick-borne diseases in Germany.
Among the ticks, the common tick is the most widespread in Germany. They are found mainly in tall grass, scrub and undergrowth. It is mainly active from March to October at altitudes below 1000 meters.
Even if most tick bites do not have any health consequences, the danger posed by ticks should not be underestimated, especially in risk areas, and it is important to deal with tick bites properly, even in daycare centers.
GOOD TO KNOW: Remove ticks
For instructions on how to safely remove ticks, visit ticks.
Ca. four fifths of Lyme disease cases caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi go unnoticed. In most cases, there is no transmission if the tick is within 24 hours properly removed (see link tip at the bottom of the page).
Symptoms and stages of the disease
The infections that lead to disease can be divided into the following stages:
1. Stage (after 5-29 days)
Often, a reddening of the skin that spreads around the injection site ("wandering redness") occurs as a clear sign of infection – however, it is only seen in about half of those infected. At this stage, treatment is with antibiotics.
2. Stage (after up to 12 weeks)
In this stage the pathogens cause flu-like symptoms. Organs, muscles and joints can be affected, pain and other complaints such as visual disturbances and heart problems are the consequence.
3. Stage (chronic infection)
If left untreated, Lyme borreliosis can be progressive and long-lasting in some cases, i.e. h. with severe illnesses over the years, which progressively worsen, but may disappear in the meantime for a longer period of time. This chronic infection is considered 3. Stage.
If Lyme disease is diagnosed on the basis of symptoms (and not just laboratory results), it must be treated with antibiotics.
FSME (early summer meningoencephalitis)
In the risk and high-risk areas for early summer meningoencephalitis (in regions of southern Germany), up to 5% of ticks are infected with the TBE viruses.
An overview of TBE risk areas can be found in the link tips at the bottom of the page.
In ca. 70-90% of the infected go unnoticed, the rest get sick. After 1-2 weeks, fever and flu-like symptoms occur, but resolve again.
Among symptomatic patients, again 10% develop TBE after ca. One week to a renewed fever peak, signs of meningitis with severe headaches, vomiting and meningitis. paralysis and unconsciousness can be the consequences. These symptoms can last for months. In some cases, paralysis, balance and hearing disorders, epilepsies and poor concentration remain.
TBE infected persons are not contagious.
Active vaccination for prevention is recommended for people who are in risk areas and are at high personal risk of tick bites.
Vaccinations also for small children?
Infants can be ticked from the age of 1. Children can be vaccinated against TBE before the age of 3, but this vaccination is more often associated with fever in children under the age of 3 than in older children. Tick bites are also relatively rare in this age group. Whether one or two year old children should be vaccinated should be clarified with the doctor in each individual case.
LINKTIP: Detailed version on Allum
A detailed version of this article can be found on Allum (pediatric information service on allergy, environment and health) under "Tick bites (Lyme disease and TBE)".
FURTHER LINK TIPS:
Picture source for the graphic above right (tick): Tamara Hoffmann / pixelio.
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