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Germany: RKI warns of the spread of exotic infectious diseases

The President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler, has warned that exotic infectious diseases are spreading in Germany as a result of climate change.

Berlin - "Climate change is leading to an expansion of the habitats for mosquitoes and ticks in Germany," he told the newspapers of the Funke media group (Monday editions). "Many mosquito and tick species can transmit viral, bacterial and parasitic infectious agents." The RKI boss named Zika, Dengue or the West Nile virus and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) as examples.

A return of malaria is also possible. The replication of viruses in mosquitoes is temperature-dependent, so that higher temperatures over longer periods of time increase the likelihood of infections from mosquito bites. "Therefore, the medical profession should be made aware of the occurrence of exotic infectious diseases, which otherwise only occur after a travel history," said Wieler.

The FDP health politician and doctor Andrew Ullmann also expects that due to the climate-related spread of tick and mosquito populations, diseases will increasingly appear in Europe and Germany "that were previously unknown in our climatic regions". Ullmann called for a reaction to the development: "Further research and innovation initiatives are urgently needed to better understand the effects of climate change on the spread of pathogens and to take effective measures," Ullmann told the Funke newspapers.

Interestingly, the German experts never find a relationship between the transmision of exotic diseases and uncontrolled mass immigration.

Photo: dpa.
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