Only the tip of the iceberg: Germany threaten new disease waves

Many viruses have been recognized to be a fatal triumph to the world. Tropical pathogens, such as the Zika Virus appears, increasingly, to Europe, among other things, because the transmitting mosquitoes spread increased. Germany, too, new disease waves threaten to completely.

Exotic pathogens spread increasingly also in Europe. Currently, French authorities have reported two first, by mosquitoes in Europe-borne Zika Virus infections. In Germany, the news that in hospital clinic patients in Germany, a domestic mosquito-transmitted West Nile Virus infection was detected followed on Thursday. Two in the late summer, focusing on women in Berlin and Wittenberg (Saxony-Anhalt), are affected Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit from the Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for tropical medicine (medical establishment has treated you) said on Thursday the German press Agency (dpa). In the vicinity of the first Infected from the Region of Leipzig there were also other suspected cases, including in younger patients.

The wide range of serious disease is frightening, said Schmidt-Chanasit. "This is just the tip of the iceberg." Only about one percent of the infections led to such a severe neuro-invasive disease. Accordingly, it is to accept that hundreds of other infections with a slight gradient, which have not been diagnosed. "The West Nile Virus seems to include far more people in Germany than previously assumed."

In about 80 percent of cases, West Nile Virus is infection without symptoms and is not recognized by therefore. At just under 20 percent, there is the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) according to mild, nonspecific symptoms such as fever or skin rash. These often remain unnoticed. More severe and fatal illness affect mostly older people with pre-existing conditions.

“The West Nile Virus seems to include far more people in Germany than previously assumed.”

For the first time, West Nile infections in Germany

At the end of September, the medical establishment has treated you and other banks had announced that for the first time a mosquito in Germany-borne West Nile Virus infection has been demonstrated in humans. In mid-August, a 70 was, therefore, to-Year-old from the Leipzig region to an inflammation of the brain is ill, is now recover. Previously, the pathogen had been shown to the case of a veterinarian in Bavaria, the infected, the investigation of a bird, only in rare cases, in travel returnees.

First evidence of West Nile Virus in Europe, there were already several decades ago, the major disease waves are only registered since a few years ago. In 2018, the European health authority, ECDC collected died, especially in countries such as Italy, Greece, Romania, Hungary and Croatia around 2000 infections, around 180 people. In several German regions, it has been demonstrated originally from Africa-born pathogens since 2018 in the case of many birds, and horses. In the more northerly climes he came by migratory birds and mosquitoes. Reuters/Felipe Dana/AP/dpa In most cases, is a infection with Zika virus unobtrusive.

Unlike the West Nile Virus, Zika may not be transferred from the domestic, but only of exotic Aedes mosquitoes, including the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) and as the main carriers of the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti). Yellow fever mosquitoes there is, as yet Europe only on the island of Madeira and to the East of the Black sea. Tiger mosquitoes, however, have embarked on a very successful train to the North.

"In Italy, there are now anywhere Tigermücken"

"In Italy, there are now anywhere Tigermücken", Schmidt-Chanasit said. In other countries such as France, Greece and Parts of Germany, the white-striped animals from spreading. Unlike domestic mosquitoes, you often use small reservoirs of water in saucers of flower pots and are widely used, especially in the urban environment in major cities such as Rome and Florence for example.

The first captured by the tiger mosquito, in Europe, transmitted Zika Virus infections there were in Hyères in the South of France, the Département of Var. Both cases occurred in August in short time intervals, it was said by the authority ECDC. The really first cases are not likely, as Schmidt-Chanasit said. "Usually there are no symptoms and the infection remains undetected."

Serious consequences can occur if women are to infect early in the pregnancy with Zika. In the case of infants it can lead to brain and Skull malformations. From 2015, thousands of such cases occurred in the case of a Zika epidemic in Brazil. "Actually, we have evidence in Europe at the time erwartet", Schmidt-Chanasit said. Currently, there is a major outbreak in Cuba. Where in France-transmitted Virus came from, was not yet known.

Zika cases were almost the only tourists

All cases of Zika fever in Germany-according to the RKI-information travelers, apart from a single well-known case of sexual Transmission in 2016. The Occurrence of the tiger mosquito does not automatically means that increased risk, said Schmidt-Chanasit. A crucial factor is the temperature, since the virus could only multiply in the heat well in the mosquito. It is a matter of temperatures that would be reached with us, even in the summer, rather rare, said Klaus Stark, RKI expert for tropical infections.

Stings a tiger mosquito, an Infected can be the captured Virus in the mosquito and are transmitted to humans to multiply, if the insect zusticht again. Unlike the yellow fever mosquito, the tiger was not a mosquito, according to the current state of knowledge, but able to cause great Zika outbreaks, says Schmidt-Chanasit.

Transfer of tiger is not only the Zika-, but also the Dengue and the Chikungunya Virus, mosquitoes, however. As Hotspots for potential outbreaks of Italy, southern France and Greece apply the Hamburg virologist, according to. Dengue cases there, especially in the South of France and Greece, in isolated cases, again and again. "In the case of Chikungunya, we had in Italy, two large outbreaks."

This Virus is probably the most dangerous for Germany, said Schmidt-Chanasit. "It can reproduce, even at moderate temperatures in the mosquito." The pathogen causes a long-lasting joint pain in the Hand, which is often misunderstood as a rheumatic disease.

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