Usutu-Virus: Blackbird dying in Germany is getting worse and worse


This year, as many suspected cases of the African Usutu Virus were reported in Germany, as never before. The disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. Blackbirds are the worst affected.

The tropical Usutu Virus is the cause this year is expected to be an even stronger Blackbird to die in Germany, as in previous years. Since the beginning of the year 2019, the naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) have been reported 1300 suspected cases. In the same period last year, there were 800 suspected cases. 1380 suspected cases had been registered of the NABU for the whole year 2017 in Germany.

The bird-watchers Lars Lachmann from the German nature conservation Association NABU estimates that the actual number of the dead birds was much higher, at between half and a Million.

The pathogen that is transmitted by mosquitoes, die led in recent years to a bird. Especially in the summer months, cases of infection occur more frequently, because the mosquitoes that transmit the Virus to multiply faster.

Until the fall of 2019, it could lead to an increase in cases because of the rains since the middle of August, to an Increase in the mosquito populations. “Therefore, this year’s Usutu could be the season stronger,” said Renke Lühken from the Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for tropical medicine.

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  • Diseases on the move

    Usutu Virus

    Meanwhile, spread the originally African Virus also in Germany. Thousands of blackbirds are gone it still is unclear relates to how much of the Virus to other bird species. A Usutu-infection in humans is detected in Germany so far, a Time. This was without symptoms. In total, there were in Europe, but so far five of the more serious gradients.

  • Diseases on the move

    Bird flu

    Ten years ago there were the first cases of bird flu in Germany. Again and again, the Virus has been found since then in Germany. Recently it occurred in Mannheim. It is suspected that the bird flu from migratory birds will be carried on or by the international poultry trade again and again comes to Germany.

  • Diseases on the move

    Fire Salamander-eater

    A fungal disease of the skin – “Salamander eater” called – threatens our native salamanders. He is believed to have been introduced from Asia imported amphibians to Europe. In 2015, the first infested Salamander was found in Germany. In the Netherlands and Belgium, the infection with the fungus has already led to extinction of many populations.

  • Diseases on the move

    Bird malaria

    Also, this type of Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes. The infected birds get fever and anemia. At the end of the 19th century. Century came the avian malaria to Hawaii, and contributed to the extinction of many Hawaiian bird species. Now the same fate threatens the birds of the Galapagos Islands. Here the mosquitoes were brought probably by means of passenger aircraft on the Islands.

  • Diseases on the move


    Mice are not a disease – but it is a very invasive art. Because of their great hunger, and rapid reproduction, they often spread rapidly. On the island of Gough in the Atlantic ocean, were eaters dragged mice, reinforced to the flesh: they fall into groups on the Chicks only on Gough native bird species. These rare species are now threatened with extinction.

  • Diseases on the move

    Dog skin worm

    The larvae of the Hundehautwurms be carried by mosquitoes more. So far, they were in southern Europe, Africa and Asia. 2015 you have been detected for the first time in Germany. By chance, the man can be to the host. The larva cannot develop under our skin usually properly – in the worst case, an infection leads to an inflammation of the brain.

    Author: Hannah Lesch

For the first time in Europe in 2001 occurred

The Usutu Virus comes from the Region around the Usutu river in Swaziland between South Africa and Mozambique. There it was discovered for the first time in 1959. In Europe it occurred in 2001 in birds in Austria. In the following years, there were also infections in Hungary, Switzerland and Italy.

Since 2011, grass is the Virus rampant in Germany. At the time, Veterinarians had established the first major disease wave.

After a few years in a few cases, there were then in 2016, again an epidemic that mainly affected blackbirds. About 600 dead birds were found.

The Usutu Virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. Due to the humid and warm weather in the late summer, they breed then particularly strong. Therefore, it came as early as 2017, and 2018 is likely to further increase in the number of infections, say bird conservationists.

Most of the suspected cases came to an end in 2017 state of North Rhine-Westphalia. There was at that time more than 500 dead birds. More per 100 messages came from Baden-Württemberg and Saxony. Now a spread of the Virus to the North is.

Also humans can become infected with Usutu Virus. Usually the disease course is benign. In people with immune deficiency it can. but to skin fever, headache, rash, and in rare cases, an inflammation of the brain

fs/gh (dpa)

Read more: Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunya & Co: What role is climate change playing?

  • Like the plague! – If animals make you sick

    Carriers of the plague

    In fleas, the health authorities of two counties in Arizona find: Yersinia pestis – the causative agent of the bubonic plague. The Flea can transmit the bacteria from Rodent to humans. The people there need to leave now, for special caution: from wild animals and your Pets with drugs against the parasites protect.

  • Like the plague! – If animals make you sick

    Not entirely unusual

    In the U.S., plague cases are rare, each year, seven infections in humans but are not, on average. Only in June had been infected in New Mexico with three people. Medically it has lost the plague in developed countries, their terror. With antibiotics they can be treated. It remains, however, if left untreated, is often fatal.

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    Caution, even if they look cute!

    In Yosemite national Park in 2015, two of the visitors were ill of the plague. Transfer the bacteria were ends likely to be of such a sweet strip, or of squirrels. In mid-August, the Park authority locked in a campsite, after the two dead squirrels plague pathogen have been found. Worldwide every year there are approximately 300 influenza cases – the most in Madagascar, the DR Congo and Peru.

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    Not only the plague is dangerous

    There are many other diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans – called zoonoses. Especially small children, elderly and sick people and Pregnant women are at risk due to infections with viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites. Therefore, Pets should be regularly treated with medication.

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    Fever, thanks to kitty

    Cats and dogs – the best friends of the people – can, for example, transfer the bacteria “Campylobacter jejuni”, the diarrhea caused. Cats also provide different Bartonella bacteria, which can cause fever and inflammation. And toxoplasmosis, triggered by Toxoplasma gondii, can cause a pregnancy to dangerous complications.

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    Route of infection in several animals

    A viral infection, which occurs almost only in the countryside, the cowpox. The mice that live on Pastures, the virus from the feces of cattle. Then the cats eat the mice and play in the evening with the people. It puts in Rumble, a scratch of the person is infected.

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    Sick by creep animals

    Amphibians and reptiles, by contrast, are intended to be used for a variety of sporadic Salmonella infections in their owners responsible. Around eleven percent of these infections in patients under the age of 21 go back, according to a study on animals such as iguanas, lizards, snakes or frogs.

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    Parrots disease

    The parrot disease is a zoonotic disease, which can be especially for children and immunocompromised individuals dangerous. Trigger a chlamydia-art. it is especially true of Parrots, budgies and pigeons. The person infected is usually over the dried droppings of the animals. The is stirred up with the dust in the air.

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    Prevent disease

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    Stabbing Risk

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    Reynard The Fox

    Up to the year 2008 there were in Germany: rabies, transmitted mainly by foxes. Through large-scale immunisation campaigns, but this dangerous disease is eradicated. For people who had become infected with the rabies virus, ended in the disease. Germany is today considered to be rabies-free.

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    The all-clear

    In General, the researchers stress outweigh the positive effects, which brings the relationship to an animal. As small children, growing up with a dog or a bird to become ill, less likely to have allergies and respiratory infections. In addition, dogs ensure that we move more – and also for the Psyche of our animal friends are well.

    Author: Gudrun Heise, Fabian Schmidt