Ministry warns of epidemic

Ministry warns of epidemic

Stuttgart. Reddish-brown pelvic fur, seven to 13 centimeters long and in autumn with a tremendous appetite for mushrooms, seeds and fruits: This is the red chick, and the table for her is richly covered. 2018 is a year of fattening, oaks and beech trees bear the most fruit. In the past, livestock used to be the mast. But also the red chickens are welcome. The mouse is host and transmitter of hantavirus.
        
          If there is enough food, the reproduction works. The red chickadee population is therefore likely to increase significantly in the coming year. Reason for the State Health Office to sound the alarm for 2019 because of presumably increased hantavirus activity. "Experience has shown that hantavirus outbreaks occur regularly after bee mast years," said Health Minister Manne Lucha (Greens).
        
          Steep increase from April?
        
          For 2019, the ministry expects more than 1300 cases nationwide, in which the virus could be transferred from the mouse to humans. By comparison, so far in 2018 only 36 cases of hantavirus disease were known nationwide. After the Buchenmast 2016, 935 hantavirus patients were registered in the following year. In 2012, there were more than 1700 cases, also after a beech mast year.
        
            The Rötelmaus is host and transmitter of the Hantavirus. Photo: Rudmer Zwerver / shutterstock.com
              
        
        
          Hanta epidemics usually begin with a slight increase in reported hantavirus infections in December, which continues in the spring. As of April, there will be a steep increase in the number of cases until the summer, says ministry spokesman Markus Jox.
        
          Especially in the oak and book-rich forests in the northern part of the country and in a strip from the edge of the Black Forest along the Swabian Alb, the Ministry expects many cases of infection. A focal point is always the district of Reutlingen, where the high proportion of beech forest promotes the spread of the red chickadee and thus of the virus.
        
          In Heidenheim district, as a second focus, the prognosis is comparatively low in 90 infections. Saved in the danger prognosis of the circle Ravensburg as well as the central and southern Black Forest, areas with many coniferous trees.
        
          In order to counteract the spread of hantavirus already now, Health Minister Lucha advises garden owners to banish unloaded bulky waste or old waste piles from their gardens. In small niches and columns, the rodents prefer one. They also look for nesting possibilities in garages, sheds and houses. Possible loopholes on buildings, the ministry advises, should be sealed to minimize the likelihood of contact with the mouse and its excretions.
        
          The infected rodents excrete the viruses throughout their lives through their saliva, urine and feces. The remains can remain infectious for several days, even if they are already dried.
        
          Hantavirus disease in humans is accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches. In some cases, transient kidney failure may occur. When combined symptoms should be consulted with a general practitioner.
      

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