High season for ticks: small, mean, and very dangerous
Ticks are often overlooked due to the fact that the pinhead-sized creatures penetrate the skin almost unnoticed. Usually, they strike in hidden places, such as the back of the knees, belly button, pubic area, armpits, back, neck or behind the ears. But contrary to what you might think, the tick stings, but it doesn't really bite. You can effectively protect yourself against ticks by wearing well-fitting clothing and avoiding overgrown areas. Chemical products for the skin also help.
Ticks are found most often in deciduous forests and lush undergrowth. They can also be found in parks, on the banks of the Rhine, but mostly on forest edges and along forest paths, where they sit on low-growing plants. They are often picked up as someone passes by, unintentionally brushing them off a plant or grass. Dogs, cats or horses can also carry a dangerous tick. It is therefore advisable to closely inspect your pets as well after a walk. Once you are back from the forest, body and clothing should be searched for the nasty insects.
Borreliosis or Lyme disease
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infection in Europe. Between five and 30 per cent of ticks carry in Switzerland carry this disease, in some areas even up to 50 per cent. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) estimates that 10,000 people become infected with Lyme disease every year. In contrast to early summer meningoencephalitis, there is still no vaccination protection against Lyme disease.
Tick bites do not just cause skin irritation, but they can also release the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, a pathogen of Borreliosis or Lyme disease. Depending on the type of disease, different organs are affected. The first symptoms are a redness in the area of the tick bite, which then expands, turns ring-shaped and finally vanishes again within a matter of days or weeks. Some patients can suffer from a second stage after weeks, months or even years, and their joints, the nervous system, and in rare cases also the heart can be affected. Since permanent disabilities are possible if there is insufficient treatment, Borrelia infections should definitely be treated with antibiotics.
Early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) or tick-borne encephalitis
However, ticks are not only able to transmit Lyme disease, but also early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE), which is caused by a virus. There are between 200 and 250 cases per year in Switzerland and the number is on the rise. The first flu-like symptoms appear after seven to 14 days. Five to 15 per cent of patients may experience their central nervous system reacting with symptoms such as headaches, photophobia, dizziness, lack of concentration, and walking disorders after a symptom-free period. These effects, some of which last weeks or even months, can result in paralysis of the extremities or facial nerves for some patients. In the worst case, the consequence can be permanent disability.
However, unlike Lyme disease, it is possible to be vaccinated against TBE. A vaccination is recommended for all people aged six or above who live in affected areas or are often in and around forests.
How does the vaccination work?
The ideal time for vaccination is in winter, but you can get protection throughout the year. Three injections are required for a complete basic immunisation. The first two vaccinations are administered at intervals of one month. The third vaccination takes place five to 12 months after the second dose, depending on the vaccine. It is good to know that long-term protection lasts at least ten years and that vaccination is covered by basic health insurance in Switzerland.
When you have been bitten by a tick and experience a fever or other symptoms, call your doctor immediately.
Traffic accident in Rheinfelden-Herten: police are looking for witnesses
The police are looking for witnesses after a black BMW forced another car off the road in a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre.
The BMW, with Lörrach number plates, was travelling on theB34 motorway between Herten and Wyhlen at 10.45pm on on Friday night.
The driver of a Mazda was driving on the same motorway coming from Rheinfelden towards Basel when she was overtaken by the BMW. The BMW pulled in too early, forcing the Mazda driver to swerve to the right to avoid an accident. Her can came off the road and came to a halt. The BMW driver stopped briefly before continuing towards Wyhlen. The Mazda was no longer fit to drive and had to be towed away. The cost of the damage has yet to be assessed.
An investigation to find the BMW driver was unsuccessful. The police want to speak to witnesses, in particular the drivers of two other cars which were also overtaken by the BMW. Anyone with information is asked to call the Rheinfelden police station on phone number +49 7623 7404 0.
High-wire performance across the Rhine: video and pictures
A spectacular performance took place yesterday afternoon on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the International Circus Festival «YOUNG STAGE Basel». Laurence Tremblay-Vu staged a high-wire performance across the Rhine near the Mittlere Brücke.
Ship traffic was suspended for the performance of Laurence Tremblay-Vu. With a sky-lift, the artist was taken 15 metres into the sky, from where he walked 190 metres unsecured across the Rhine. During his performance on the extra-tense high-wire from Grossbasel to Kleinbasel, he also performed various tricks. A lot of spectators gathered to watch the event from the Mittlere Bücke.
We have pictures and a film of the performance for you here.