Thursday , August 11 2022

Altikon / Winterthur: "I thought I had lung cancer – but it was a rabbit disease" – Nationwide


There was a shadow on his lungs. "It does not look good," said the doctors at Cantonal Winterthur Hospital to Walter Bachmann from Altikon. There was a suspicion of lung cancer. The farmer and the 60-year-old forest guard in the wine country has pulled the land under his feet. "I have not seen a future from one moment to another, all of a sudden everything has fallen." Bachmann had smoked for nearly 40 years. Therefore, it seemed quite plausible to him that he might have lung cancer. Four years ago. But the feelings of that time are still present. He remembers how he felt at home only a few hours earlier that day. After a shower, he was exhausted on the bed. "I was completely done," says Bachmann. When he had a 40-degree fever, he felt a severe chest pain and could barely breathe, called his family doctor. He advised him to go to the hospital immediately, which Bachmann did.

Long period of uncertainty

From there a long period of uncertainty began for him and for his wife. An investigation followed the other. And even if you did not find the cancer cells, the suspicion of lung cancer could not be completely eliminated. "I never cried as much as this month," remembers Bachmann's wife, Beatrice.

"I never cried as much as this month."Beatrice Bachmann

After the four weeks, ultimately, the redemption, the happy news: It is not lung cancer, but a pneumonia caused by the plague, which is curable. "We were completely relieved when we heard this and thanked God for that," says Beatrice Bachmann. Finding such a rare disease takes time, he says, looking back. "We can be glad in KSW a" Dr. House "who has met the cranial bacterium.

Her husband then received large-dose antibiotics for several days; Only after a short time he was already much better. There was no lasting damage. Bachmann has completely recovered from his illness. In addition, she managed to get something positive from the difficult days: "The infection now makes me immune to rabies forever."

Hasenkot as a cause?

But how was Bachmann infected? It is clear that even a few pathogens can trigger a disease, the incubation period is usually only a few days and that, in principle, many infections are possible (see also the box below). Farmer Weinländer himself assumes that he has inhaled the bacteria over the finest dust particles that have been shaken by barley straw bales. These bales may be contaminated with rabbit or mouse feces.

"Why can not be said with certainty that the number of cases of rabies in Winterthur and Andelfingen districts is above average."Nadia Schurch, Spiez Laboratory

Walter Bachmann later learned that a similar drama was happening on a farm just half a mile away. "A nine-year-old boy fell ill at the same time as the plague."

KSW has treated many cases

The fact that there is a hotspot in the districts of Andelfingen and Winterthur for many years with an increased risk of contagion for rabbit plague (see the map below) is also demonstrated by the figures made public by Winterthur cantonal hospital compared to Landbote. "Since 2007, KSW's infectious diseases have treated 29 cases," says Urs Karrer, chief medical officer at KSW, and a specialist in tularemia, a rabbit wound jargon.

Infections of human plague. Source: © swisstopo (JM100004) / Work Spiez, Graphics: mt / da

Most commonly, KSW rabies wounds showed flu-like symptoms such as fever, sweating and headache "followed by severe swelling of local lymph nodes." In some cases, affected lymph nodes had to be surgically removed, says Karrer. Patients were treated partially as outpatients and partly as well-off patients. However, severe cases of rabies were also frequently reported in KSW (43% of all cases). Patients suffered from high fever, chills, headaches and pneumonia. For treatment with intravenous antibiotics, they stay for up to seven days in the hospital. Karrer admits that sometimes it may take some time "until the diagnosis is made and the correct treatment is initiated". Although rabies epidemic in Switzerland is never fatal to humans, it is nothing more than harmless. "In 2012, we were dealing with a patient who had a very difficult history," remembers Karrer. "This patient would probably have died of tularemia without proper treatment."

Infections often over ticks

For a long time, it has been assumed that transmission to humans occurs mainly through direct or indirect contact with diseased animals (rabbits, mice, etc.). In the past, there have been mostly hunters or farmers who have been affected. However, a recent study shows that ticks are the most important source of infection in Switzerland. Their battles are responsible for about 60% of cases.

Researchers believe rabies disease can be linked to global warming and altered recreational behavior. "But the reason why there are a number of over-average rabies in the Winterthur and Andelfingen districts can not be said with certainty," explains Nadia Schürch, Head of Bacteriology at the Spiez Laboratory. "A hypothesis, for example, is that ticks find better conditions in these areas than elsewhere." (Landbote)

Created: 20.11.2018, 16:26 watch

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