Experts are concerned: various finds of tropical character in Germany
Medical experts sound the alarm: tropical ticks have been discovered for the first time in Germany. An animal even contained the pathogen of dangerous typhus. It is feared that the "gigantic sign" will continue to spread in Germany and cause an increase in dangerous diseases.
Increasing danger due to ticks
Only a few weeks ago a growing sign danger was warned. The small leeches can transmit infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). However, researchers in Germany have discovered tissue types that do not come from this country. One of these animals contained a pathogen of dangerous typhoid fever. This disease can lead to death if not treated.
A found specimen contained dangerous bacteria
Tick researchers at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart and their colleagues from the Institute of Microbiology of the German Armed Forces (IMB) in Munich have this year detected seven specimens of the tropical species of ticks of the genus Hyalomma.
Although the song sounds manageable, but with the researchers it makes alarms. According to a statement experts fear that the leeches can settle here.
And another worrying point: one specimen carried a dangerous bacterium, Rickettsia aeschlimannii, a known tick-borne typhus.
Illness can be fatal if not treated
Typhus fever occurs in the higher, colder regions of Central and West Africa, South America and Asia.
After an incubation period of ten to fourteen days, symptoms such as headache, chills, high fever and body aches can occur.
After about five to six days there is a red spot rash, from which the name of the disease is derived.
Health experts say the mortality rate is up to 40 percent untreated.
Tropical sign discovered on horses and a sheep
The researchers from Stuttgart and Munich discovered three of the tropical signs on a single horse, one on one sheep and three others on three individual horses.
"We have been able to pinpoint five of the seven ticks, four of which are the Hyalomma marginatum species and one of the Hyalomma rufipes species," explains Dr. Lidia Chitimia-Dobler, tick expert at the IMB.
"The two remaining ones had lost the horse owner when they were collected," said the scientist.
"We did not expect hyalomma to be taping here in Germany at the moment, so far there have been only two separate finds in the years 2015 to 2017."
Species found are not found in Central and Northern Europe
Hyalomma marginatum and Hyalomma rufipes originate in the dry and semi-arid regions of Africa, Asia and southern Europe. In Central and Northern Europe they have not occurred so far.
In the Eurasian region, both species are considered as important transmitters of the virus causing the Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever and the Alkhumra virus, the cause of the Arab haemorrhagic fever.
The bacterium Rickettsia aeschlimannii, which causes a form of sign-spotted fever, can also be transmitted by this sign.
The adult ticks suck blood, especially in large animals. The animals can actively move to their host, over a distance of up to 100 meters. Man is also a potential host of the animals.
In contrast, larvae and nymphs are mainly found in birds and small mammals. They use the same animal for blood suction and stay on their host for up to 28 days, so they can be brought to Germany with migratory birds.
Relatively large animals
The relatively large animals with the strikingly striped legs were published this year in the area around Hannover, in Osnabrück and in the Wetterau, probably introduced via birds.
"These types of signs can find their way to Germany," Prof. dreads. Dr. med. Ute Mackenstedt, parasitologist at the University of Hohenheim.
"We will keep an eye on her this year and we are preparing to meet her more often in the coming months."
More heat-loving sign due to global warming
However, this development is no surprise for the expert.
"Because of the greenhouse effect, we generally expect more and more heat-loving ticks, for example Ixodes inopinatus from the Mediterranean Sea has been distributed to Denmark."
The big question now lies with the two Hyalomma species, whether it concerns individual introduced specimens or whether the species has established itself here.
"In another species, the browntail dating from Rhipicephalus sanguineus, originally from Africa, specimens have been found in dogs that have never left their farm," says Prof. dr. Dr. med. Mackenstedt.
"So they can not be an unintended souvenir for the holiday – an indication that the species may already develop here."
Exotic species could settle in Germany
This must be observed in the future for the hyalomma species. "We know how long the period the animals need for their development," Dr. Chitimia-Dobler.
"This allows us to estimate whether they can establish themselves in Germany in the event of further global warming with increasingly dry and hot periods."
The expert traces the occurrence of hyalomma ticks in Germany back to the hot, dry summer of 2018.
"These ticks prefer a lower humidity than the ticks we find here.This year the local weather is very close to the living conditions of this sign."
The pathogens for Lyme and FSME disease have not previously been detected in Hyalomma marginatum and Hyalomma rufipes.
But even these leeches are risky. Both species are considered to be major transmitters of hemorrhagic fever in the Crimea, Arab hemorrhagic fever and a form of tick-spotted fever.
"In one of the specimens found we could prove the pathogen of a tropical form of tick-spotted fever, but at least dangerous viruses as the cause of hemorrhagic fevers have not yet been discovered," said Dr. PD. med. Gerhard Dobler, doctor and microbiologist at the IMB. (sb, advertisement)