A little-noticed Virus makes now in Germany wide

Scientists expected after the mild Winter, with a larger spread of the West Nile Virus. The pathogen affects mainly birds and horses. But it can also be dangerous to humans.

For ravens and birds of prey, the disease usually ends fatally, other birds show no symptoms. People and horses can become ill and, in rare cases, even die. The West Nile Virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, could spread to the mild Winter in Germany.

The originally from Africa-born Virus is present on all continents except Antarctica. “In recent years, there have been in southern and Eastern Europe, again and again sporadic outbreaks with 10 to 100 Patients,” says the Rostock tropical medicine, Emil Reisinger. This led to WNV in Europe was known, but not a great deal of attention was found.

Experts: Virus has survived the Winter, probably

A dangerous potential, put in the Virus, the head of the Department of tropical medicine and infectious diseases at the Unimedizin Rostock says. “A mortality rate of 2.5 to 5 percent is not little.” Especially the elderly and immuno-compromised people can die from the infection. In Germany but was reported to date no case in which a person has been infected by a mosquito.

For humans, there is as yet no vaccine for horses. The Standing Committee on vaccination veterinary medicine recommends to vaccinate in this year, horses in areas where the Virus occurred already. “The likelihood that the Virus has survived this Winter in mosquitoes, is very large,” says the Virologist, Ute Ziegler from the Federal research Institute for animal health on the island of Riems near Greifswald. She directs the national reference laboratory for WNV infections in birds and horses. The Virus is favored by a warm environment.

First a fever, then meningeal inflammation

In Germany, the first WNV have been discovered in the last year-cases in animals, especially in birds. In them, the Virus multiplies very well. “They represent the natural virus reservoir,” explains Ziegler. In poultry, only a diseased Geese in Israel at the end of the 1990s, is yet to become known. Also mammals infected. But only humans and horses can become seriously ill. Do not plug in other.

The symptoms are similar to the people at the beginning of a flu. First of all, the disease with fever and sweat show up outbreaks, explains Reisinger. Then the patient felt well again. But the fever will come again, and it is high time to go to the doctor. Because then the risk of a brain was inflammation of the skin.

The warmer, the faster the diffusion

The first animal proven to be a West-died Nile infection in Germany, was in August of 2018, a great grey owl from the Zoo Halle/Saale. Overall, this is a notifiable animal disease since then, in Germany 14 Times registered, at twelve birds, and two horses, as Ziegler explains. Some of the animals survived.

The Virus multiplies according to your words in the mosquitoes, the faster, the warmer the environment is. I have used the Virus to propagate in 2017, an average of 17 to 21 days, but it’s been in the warm summer of 2018 in Central Germany, often only 12 to 14 days. The WNV had evidence focuses 2018 to the warmest regions – Saxony-Anhalt, South Brandenburg and Northern Saxony.

Expectation of “heaping individual cases,”

In Germany, no human WNV so far is ill-infection by a mosquito bite. However, a veterinarian in Bavaria, not infected, probably at the post-mortem examination of a bird, he fell seriously ill. In southern and Eastern Europe 181 people died in the previous year to a WNV infection, more than 2000 patients. How the Virus is spread in Germany this year, is still completely open, says Ziegler. Reisinger expected in the coming years, no major outbreak, however, of “heaping individual cases” in people.

Health authorities, Veterinary services, veterinary surgeons and hunters in Germany were sensitized according to the Virologist in terms of the pathogen. So hunter had been asked to report dead birds and send them. Furthermore, neurologically diseased horses should be examined on the WNV.