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In the heat the pathogens feel comfortable


"Climate change and infectious diseases" is a lecture on the 24th of June at the opening of the university week, held by Professor Sören Becker, director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology.
Christine Maack

Climate change everywhere – and now in medicine? This may be asked if you look at the theme of this year's 58th university week's lecture: "Climate change and infectious diseases". The President on June 24th, on the day of the opening of the university week, is Professor Sören Becker, Director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene at the University Hospital.

It is now traditionally the university week to express the "Linkage of the City of Homburg to the University Hospital". Which means that week-long speakers, who always come from university hospitals, need to prepare the current medical subject in a generally understandable way, so that citizens understand which topics are being investigated at the hospital and are in the widest sense paying taxes. .

And now climate change and infectious diseases. From the very beginning Professor Sören Becker explains in an interview with our newspaper that he did not jump on a topic that "fits in well with time", but the climate change is seen by the "doctor's eyes". It also deals with tropical medicine. And then it was the case that with a slight rise in temperature the pathogens suddenly felt at home, as before was not necessarily the basic equipment of contagious diseases north of the Alps. "It's like plants and insects, distribution areas are also changing with pathogens".

This is confirmed by a woodsman, who looks at the spread of Mediterranean trees, such as chestnut or cherry, in the northern parts. Up to 20 years ago, sweet chestnuts ended in Palatinate, further to the north as Homburg did not come in, and in the meantime was also conquered by northern Saarland. Or a black wooden bee, which was not in Germany until the 1990s, but has now apparently gained a foothold. Now these are harmless examples, which can not necessarily be said about the causes of contagious diseases.

"It's not just about heat but also the dryness that favors some pathogens," Becker said, "so that in the foreseeable future we could get back clinical images that we must first learn to handle." "Doctors also consider those who have doubted them only in the southern countries when they are diagnosing infectious diseases."

It is well-known that the climate is not a static whole, there were periods of hot and cold in history, for example, malaria was very common in Germany in the 18th century – poet Friedrich Schiller became ill, for example, because of the mosquitoes of the Mannheim Water Mill, him.

Professor Becker, well versed in the history of medicine, confirms that malaria did not exist only in Italy but in the Netherlands and northern Germany: "1848 malaria was recorded in Schleswig-Holstein." : Can plague and cholera get back? "Theoretically already," says Becker, "but it certainly will not take the medieval proportions. Today, there is much to know about these syndromes and their various phases."

What does the university week still offer in lectures? On Tuesday, June 25, between 14:00 and 17:00, within the framework of the Paul Fritsche Foundation in the Grand Hall of the City Hall, will be held the second day of ethics: "Ethical Requirements for Human Medicine at UKS and at the Medical School: old patient. "On Thursday, June 27, at 6.30 pm, there was also a generally understandable topic that also inspired many people:" I'm out of my head, Night Alopecia. " The lecturer is Professor Thomas Vogt, Place: Dermatology School, Sixth Building.

Except for lectures rain falls during the university week. June 24 will be awarded a reward for science in the city of Homburg. June 26th at 7pm, research awards will be delivered to Friends of the University Hospital at the Personalcasino Side Room.

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PHOTO: gms / Elke Wentker

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PHOTO: picture-alliance / dpa / dpaweb / Patrick Pleul