“2019 is quite clearly a breakout year”

In many places in Germany, there is an increased risk of being infected with the Hantavirus this year. “2019 is quite clearly a breakout year,” said Mirko Faber from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

Since January, the Institute reported good 460 cases. Especially the Swabian Alb, the rooms Stuttgart and Osnabrück, in lower Franconia, the Bavarian forest, to the East of Hesse, in the West of Thuringia and the münsterland are affected, Faber said.

The current outbreak is up to now, however, with the strong Hantavirus-year 2012 comparable, says Faber. At the time, throughout the year, around 2800 infections were registered in the same period, more than 1100 cases – have never been counted in a year. For comparison: in 2018, the sick in the whole year, only 235 people.

Strong fluctuations of the disease cases of the Hantavirus is common, because the spread of the virus depends heavily on the number of mice together. In particular, in the years in which many fruits produce, the large amount of feed for strong populations. Rötelmäuse apply in Germany as the main carrier, the virus can also be transferred to other mice, and rats.

Risk with the Sweep, work in the garden

The majority of infections in Germany by the Inhalation of suspended dust that contains disintegrated feces of the Rötelmäuse. In addition, the animals excrete the virus with the saliva or urine.

The risk for infection is about cleaning up or Sweeping of garages or sheds. In the garden the virus may penetrate by a small injury to the skin. In addition, the virus can also enter in the case of bites by infected animals or through contaminated food into the body.

The Rötelmaus, forest vole called

Foresters, hunters, garden workers and construction workers have an increased risk of infection. Person-to-person the in Germany widespread pathogens are not transferable.

High fever, head and body aches

Infections with the widely used in Germany Hantavirus infections often lead to diseases with flu-like symptoms. Typical complaints are about high fever, headache, muscle and limb pain. After a few days of Nausea or vomiting can be added. Also, the kidneys may be temporarily affected, up to acute renal failure. Deaths in Germany are, however, very rare.

Hantaviruses are found worldwide, in some regions of the pathogen are significantly more dangerous. So far there is no vaccine and no medication against the virus, in diseases are usually treated only the symptoms. Between infection and the first symptoms two to four weeks usually.

To protect yourself, the Federal centre for health education (BZgA), several tips:

  • Careful washing of hands after Working Outdoors, on attic and in the shed.
  • Mice and rats fight, especially in the vicinity of residential areas such as in basements, attics and sheds. For nesting, such as bulky waste to dispose of.
  • Waste in well-sealable litter bins to dispose of food and animal feed safely, and closed up the store.
  • Food scraps and animal waste is not disposed of in the home compost.