By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is reporting (computer translated) an increase in cases of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) year to date in Germany.
Through Sept. 7, 535 cases have been reported; which is an increase of 14 percent over the same period in 2018, a record year for TBE in Germany.
Eighty-nine percent of the cases (477) have been reported from Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria states in southern Germany.
Health officials suggest the increase may be due to the recommended measures to contain COVID-19, where people may spent increased amount of their leisure time outdoors and thus have an increased risk of exposure.
In 2020, high numbers of ticks were also be observed in places that are regularly sampled. In particular, the number of adult tick stages is unusually high this year. This tick stage has a higher virus carrier rate than the nymph stage. It can be assumed that this tick season in the known TBE risk areas also increases the probability of being bitten by an infected tick.
TBE is an illness caused by a virus spread through tick bites. You can also get TBE by eating or drinking unpasteurized dairy products (such as milk and cheese) from infected goats, sheep, or cows, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Symptoms include fever, achiness, loss of appetite, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Swelling of the brain and/or spinal cord, confusion, and sensory disturbances occur in 20-30% of people with TBE. One percent of people die from this infection.
TBE is found in many parts of Europe and Asia (from eastern France to northern Japan and from northern Russia to Albania). Several thousand cases are reported each year, but there are probably many other cases that do not get reported. The highest number of cases occurs in Russia.