Exotic viruses reach Europe



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Fever as an indication of exotic viral diseases

More and more people in Germany fall ill with previously unknown pathogens in this country. "The number of new viral diseases in Germany is still very small", but this could change rapidly in the course of global warming, increasing travel, tourism and international goods transport, said the Secretary General of the German Society for Internal Medicine. V. (DGIM), Professor Dr. med. Ulrich R. Fölsch from Kiel, in a current press release.

"In the case of a fever without an explicable cause", the DGIM therefore recommends "also considering infection by new viruses." According to the experts, the causative agents of "Chikungunya, Pappataci or West Nile fever could continue in the coming years to penetrate to Europe and also to Germany. ”Often the affected patients turn to an internist because of the non-specific symptoms such as fever, headache, cough, runny nose, fatigue and limpness with exotic viral diseases, according to the DGIM announcement. When diagnosing fever diseases, doctors should therefore also consider new viral diseases and carry out the necessary tests in suspected cases, emphasized the DGIM General Secretary, Prof. Dr. Delight.

Mild winters promote the spread of exotic viral diseases According to the experts, the reason for the spread of exotic viruses in Germany is, for example, the milder climate. Because the transmitters of viruses are often ticks or mosquitoes and how much they spread depends on the weather, reports the DGIM with reference to a contribution by Prof. Emil C. Reisinger, Dean of the Rostock University Medical Center, in the German Medical Weekly Journal (DMW ). Using the example of early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE), Professor Reisinger had made it clear that tick-borne viral diseases are more common in two successive mild winters. Because wild animals such as rabbits and deer, "which serve the ticks as well as humans as hosts", reproduce particularly strongly in mild winters - and with them the ticks, as stated in the DGIM press release.

The DGIM names the Crimean-Congo fever as an example of the exotic viral diseases, which could soon also occur in Germany. So far, nobody in Germany has been infected with the potentially fatal tropical disease, but researchers in both Holland and Germany have been able to prove "its vector, the tortoise hyalomma and rhipicephalus, the brown dog tick", reports the DGIM. The Crimean-Congo fever can therefore be brought in from Southeast Europe at any time. The exotic viral disease goes hand in hand with high fever and often with internal bleeding. The death rate of the infected reaches around 18 percent in some countries, such as Bulgaria.

Tiger mosquitoes as carriers of tropical diseases
In addition to the Crimean-Congo fever, according to the DGIM, the Chikungunya fever, which most recently broke out in the greater Indian Ocean, is reaching Europe. Chikungunya fever broke out in 2007 in the Italian region of Emilia Romagna for the first time in Europe with 205 diseases. The Asian tiger mosquito, which, according to Professor Reisinger, has meanwhile become at home in the European Mediterranean region, is the carrier of the tropical disease. Regarding the spread of the tiger mosquitoes, the expert explained that they often get to distant regions by car or train. In Germany, for example, the eggs of the tiger mosquito were first discovered along the A5 motorway near Rastatt in Baden-Württemberg. Since the tiger mosquitoes also transmit the dengue fever, according to the experts, there is also an increased spread. Dengue fever is the "most common mosquito-borne viral disease in the world" and "was last seen in Europe in Greece in 1927/1928," reports the DGIM.

Furthermore, Sindbis viruses, the carriers of the Sindbis fever of the same name, have been detected in Baden-Württemberg in mosquitoes, according to the German Society for Internal Medicine. "The new flu showed us in 2009/2010 how quickly new viruses can spread," emphasized the DGIM General Secretary, Professor Fölsch. Doctors should therefore also think of exotic viral diseases when diagnosing unusual fever diseases. (fp)

Also read:
Viruses in the meat that cause colorectal cancer
Dengue fever: With bacteria against viruses
Spread of the West Nile Virus in Europe

Image: Depeche / pixelio.de

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