As of: 15.10.2018 12:45 o'clock
The West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes.
The summer of the century not only pampers us humans with pleasant temperatures. Even pathogens such as dengue, Zika and Chikungunya, which otherwise only occur in the tropics, can spread out under these conditions. Most recently, the West Nile virus is on the rise in the north. Since even local mosquitoes transmit this virus, you do not have to go to exotic countries to get infected. A mosquito bite in your own garden can be enough.
Virus is distributed worldwide
No other mosquito-borne virus is as widespread worldwide as the West Nile virus. In 1999, the original African origin was first detected in the USA. In the following 17 years, there were 46,000 people, 2,000 of them died. In recent years, the West Nile virus has spread rapidly from the extreme southeast of Europe. There were 204 confirmed West Nile infections in Europe in 2017, with more than 1,300 this year. Most infections are recorded in Italy and Greece. The fact that the West Nile virus now also occurs in many areas in which it was never observed before, experts worry. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes that have previously been sucked on infected birds.
Symptoms are similar to those of a cold
80 percent of all West Nile infections go completely unnoticed in humans, about 20 percent of those infected initially feel slightly "intertwined". In most cases, these symptoms resolve within a few days and are indistinguishable even for doctors from a harmless cold. But every 100th Infected a serious illness develops. Especially elderly and pre-existing people with a weak immune system are at risk. Normally, the virus already fights the immune system in the blood, but in rare cases it manages to cross the blood-brain barrier and cause untreatable brain inflammation. Depending on the affected brain areas, there are different deficits, for example, affecting speaking, running or temperature regulation.
Contagion also possible in Germany
So far, only German people who had been infected abroad were treated in German hospitals. But this summer a horse and several owls died in German zoos of the West Nile virus, which must have infected themselves in this country. Experts therefore also assume that there is a danger to people. So far, however, these cases do not appear in the statistics, since most affected people either did not notice the infection or had only a slight course and push the symptoms to a cold.
Transmission by blood transfusion
Apart from a mosquito bite, the West Nile virus can also be transmitted by a blood infusion. Therefore, after a trip to areas with a proven West Nile outbreak, blood donors have so far been excluded from blood donation for several weeks. Experts warn, however, that is no longer enough. They demand a test of all blood donations for the West Nile virus, since every donor could have infected unnoticed in Germany.
Without therapy only the mosquito repellent remains
There are no drugs against the West Nile virus. Three vaccines are approved for horses only, and human vaccines are currently under intensive research. Until then, only remains to protect against mosquito bites. With the onset of dusk, most mosquitoes become active. Screen screens on the windows, mosquito nets and long-sleeved clothing with trouser legs and mosquito repellents (repellents) provide protection. Those who have their own garden can make a major contribution to combating mosquitoes:
Remove unnecessary water containers (eg old tires or water-filled buckets). Set buckets and watering cans down or under the roof to prevent rainwater from accumulating. Cover the rainwater tanks with mosquito screens so that they can not serve as mosquitoes for the mosquitoes.Rain barrels at least all empty completely for 10 days and clean if necessary.
Experts on the topic
Univ. Dr. Dr. Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, leader
Department of Virus Diagnostics
National Reference Center for Tropical Infectious Agents
Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine
Bernhard-Nocht-Strasse 74, 20359 Hamburg
www.bni-hamburg.deDr. Karl-Christian Münter, specialist in general medicine, phlebology
Group practice Bramfeld
Bramfelder Chaussee 200, 22177 Hamburg
(0 40) 641 78 68
www.gemeinschaftspraxis-bramfeld.dePriv.-Doz. Dr. Hans-Christian Koennecke, chief physician
Department of Neurology – Stroke Unit
Vivantes Hospital in Friedrichshain
Landsberger Allee 49
10249 Berlin Friedrichshain
www.vivantes.deDr. Victor Corman, virologist
Institute of Virology
Charité – University Medicine Berlin
Robert Koch Institute
In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the West Nile virus has been detected for the first time. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes to birds or horses. The animal disease is notifiable. (09.28.2018)
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16.10.2018 | 20:15 clock