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Dangerous hantavirus is spreading - How to protect yourself

Dangerous hantavirus is spreading - How to protect yourself



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Warning of the dangerous hantavirus - more and more infections

There is currently an increased risk of Hantaviurs infections in various regions of Germany. The pathogen is transmitted by infected animals and leads to flu-like symptoms in humans. Health experts explain how you can protect yourself.

Hantavirus infections are currently increasing

Hantavirus infections are increasing in parts of Germany. The viruses are excreted from infected rodents, especially the vole, through saliva, faeces and urine. The transmission to humans takes place either via the respiratory tract or by smear infections. Experts explain how to protect yourself from infections.

Increase in diseases in Lower Bavaria

Hantavirus infections are increasingly being reported in some regions of Germany. According to a report by the "Passauer Neue Presse" (PNP), 202 illnesses occurred across Germany by the end of April. In the same period last year there were only 62.

In Bavaria, Lower Franconia and Lower Bavaria - especially the Bavarian Forest - are among the Hantavirus areas.

According to the newspaper, seven cases have been registered in the Passau district so far, none in the previous year.

And in the district of Freyung-Grafenau, there were already 17 diseases this year, and one case was recorded in 2018.

Disease begins with flu-like symptoms

Hantavirus types occurring in Germany mostly cause diseases with flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache, abdominal pain and back pain.

In the further course, there may also be a drop in blood pressure.

More serious disease courses are also possible: According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), hantavirus infections in Central Europe can cause kidney dysfunction up to acute kidney failure.

However, the majority of people who become infected with the virus have no or only unspecific symptoms.

Virus transmission via respiratory tract or by smear infections

A RKI leaflet tells you how to get infected: Hantaviruses are excreted by infected rodents (e.g. mice and rats) and shrews via saliva, urine and faeces.

The transmission to humans takes place either through the respiratory tract or through smear infections on the hands.

"Humans become infected through contact with the excretions of infected rodents when contaminated dust is whirled up and the pathogens are inhaled."

No direct contact with the animals is necessary for infection. Infection by bites from infected rodents is also possible, according to the RKI.

However, transmission from person to person and infection via pets or via vectors (for example mosquitoes or ticks) probably do not take place.

How to protect yourself

The RKI also explains how to protect yourself: "You can reduce the risk of a Hantavirus infection by avoiding contact with rodents and their excretions and by taking certain precautions."

According to the experts, this includes “above all preventing rodents from entering the living area and its immediate surroundings.”

These measures should primarily be implemented in known endemic areas if rodent infestation has been identified or if activities are carried out in locations where rodents are expected to occur.

The Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety (LGL) points out on its website that when working in rooms (sheds, cellars, attics, garden sheds) in which mice live, but also outdoors, e.g. when composting or woodworking, special care is required.

“Dust generation should be avoided during cleaning work by moistening beforehand. If there is visible mouse infestation, gloves and, if necessary, mouth protection should be worn, ”says the LGL. (ad)

Author and source information


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