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Robert Koch Institute: More and more infections caused by the Hanta virus
According to statistics from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the number of infections with the Hanta virus has already reached a record level in the first half of this year. With 965 cases reported, the number of infections in the same period has never been as high since the introduction of the reporting obligation in 2001. According to the RKI, men who are sick about twice as often as women are particularly at risk. Children are rarely affected by the infectious disease.
Baden-Württemberg is particularly badly affected by the Hanta virus. As the RKI announced, most infections with Hanta viruses occur in Baden-Württemberg. Around two thirds of all reported illnesses, which corresponds to 696 registered illnesses, occurred in Baden-Württemberg. However, the number of infections has also skyrocketed in some other federal states. When asked by the news agency "dapd", Reinhard Burger, President of the RKI, announced that the risk of infection was generally higher in spring and summer: "Then the rodents, which transmit the virus to people via their excretions, become active, and people keep themselves also increasingly outside. ”
As a rule, a Hanta virus infection manifests itself like a flu. The incubation period is between 12 to 21 days. If the disease has broken out, symptoms usually appear, which include very high fever, headache, back pain, abdominal pain and minor bleeding (petechiae). With severe disease courses, reduced urine output (oliguria) with "arterial hypertension" can occur, which can lead to failure of one or both kidneys. In some rare cases, pulmonary edema can also develop. If there are signs of the symptoms described, a doctor should be consulted immediately. In about 50 percent of the reported Hanta virus infections, inpatient treatment in the hospital is essential.
The Hanta virus got its name from a river (Hanta River) in Korea. The virus became known worldwide after thousands of UN soldiers became infected with it in the Korean War in the 1950s. The virus is now occurring worldwide.
The Hanta virus is spread by red vole. The pathogen is in their saliva, urine or faeces. As a rule, infection occurs when humans have inhaled dust containing pathogens. This year there are a lot of red vole last autumn due to the abundance of their main food source, the beech nuts. Areas that have a high proportion of beech forest are therefore particularly affected by infections.
Berlin, Brandenburg and Hamburg have so far been spared the Hanta virus. In addition to Baden-Württemberg, 73 Hanta virus cases were also registered in Bavaria, 70 in North Rhine-Westphalia, 42 in Lower Saxony and 32 in Hesse. Apart from Hamburg, Berlin and Brandenburg, which according to official figures have so far been spared, Hanta virus infections also occurred in all other federal states.
The disease also broke out in 2007 and 2010. At that time, significantly more cases of illness were registered, similar to today. At that time, 562 infections were registered during the first five months and 846 Hanta virus cases three years later. Back then, more than 50 percent of those affected lived in Baden-Württemberg.
There is an increased risk of infection, among other things, in activities such as repositioning wood piles as well as cleaning and tidying up in garages, in attics, in basements as well as sheds and garden sheds. If the rodents occur in the immediate vicinity, they should be controlled by a specialist. For safety reasons, no food and its leftovers should be lying around but stowed away well. Certain professions, such as those employed in agriculture, forestry and construction, have an increased risk of contracting the Hanta virus infection. Experts advise against cleaning activities to moisten the dust in order to bind it. The surfaces should also be sprayed with a disinfectant. Dust masks should also be worn. (ag)
Hantavirus infections in Baden-Württemberg
Increase in hantavirus infections