Climate change could see rise in tropical diseases in Germany

Germany should be prepared for an increase in the spread of tropical diseases as a result of climate change, according to the president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler.

The Robert Koch Institute is a German federal government agency and research institute responsible for disease control and prevention. It is located in Berlin and Wernigerode. As an upper federal agency, it is subordinate to the Federal Ministry of Health

Wieler told local media that climate change is leading to an expansion of the habitats of mosquitoes and ticks in Germany. “Many mosquito and tick species can transmit viral, bacterial and parasitic infectious agents,” he said.

The reproduction of viruses in mosquitoes is temperature-dependent, so with higher temperatures over longer periods of time, the probability of infections from mosquito bites increases. 

Wieler named Zika, dengue and the West Nile virus, as well as early summer meningoencephalitis (FSME) as examples of viruses that could soon be on the rise in Germany and said there was even a possibility that Malaria could appear in the country.

Therefore, he said, it is crucial to raise awareness of such diseases in the medical profession in this country. 

“This is also an important concern for the RKI,” he said.