There was a shadow in the lungs. "It does not look good," said the doctors at the cathonic hospital Winterthur in Walter Bachmann from Altikon. There was a suspected lung cancer. The 60-year-old farmer and landowner from the wine country pulled the ground under his feet. "I did not see any future from one moment to another, suddenly everything was down." Bachmann had smoked for nearly 40 years. Therefore, it seemed quite likely to him that he could have lung cancer. This is four years ago. But feelings of that time are still present. He still remembers how he felt at home a few hours earlier that day. After a shower, he let himself be exhausted on the bed. "I was totally finished," says Bachmann. When he had a fever of 40 degrees, he felt a severe chest pain and was barely able to breathe, he called his family doctor. He told him to go to the hospital right away, something Bachmann did.
Long time of uncertainty
From there, he began a long period of uncertainty for himself and his wife. One survey followed the other. And even if you did not find cancer cells, the suspicion of lung cancer could never be completely eliminated. "We have never cried as much as this month," remembers Bachmann's wife Beatrice.
"We have never cried as much as this month."Beatrice Bachmann
After these four weeks, finally, the redeeming, happy news: It is not lung cancer, but a pneumonia caused by the plague of rabbit, which is therapeutic. "We were completely relieved when we heard it and thanked God for it," says Beatrice Bachmann. Finding such a rare illness takes time, he says, looking back. "We can be happy, at KSW, a" Dr. House, "who treated the bacterium of lambs' plague."
Her husband then received high-dose antibiotics for several days. Shortly afterwards he was already much better. There were no lasting damages. Bachmann has fully recovered from his illness. In addition, he was able to win something positive from the difficult days: "The infection now makes me immunized with rabies forever."
Hasenkot as a cause?
But how was Bachmann infected? It is clear that even some pathogens can cause a disease, that the incubation period is usually only a few days and that, as a rule, many routes of infection are possible (see also the box below). The Weinländer farmer himself assumes that he had inhaled the bacterium over the best dust particles, which were overturned by straw barley balls. These parcels may be infected with rabbit or mouse stools.
"Why there is an average number of cases of rabies in the Winterthur and Andelfingen areas can not be said with certainty."Nadia Schürch, 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 got sick at the same time as I did with the plague of rabbit."
KSW has handled many cases
The fact that in the Andelfingen and Winterthur areas there has been a hotspot for many years with an increased risk of infection for rabbit fever (see map below) also appears from the data released by the Canton Winterthur Hospital compared to Landbote. "Since 2007, KSW's infectious diseases have cured 29 cases," says Urs Karrer, chief medical officer at the KSW Polyclinic Medicine and a chestnut specialist, called the rabbit plague.
More commonly, patients with rabies plague in KSW experienced flu-like symptoms such as fever, sweating and headache, "followed by severe swelling of local lymph nodes. In some cases, the affected lymph node had to be surgically removed, says Karrer. Patients were treated partly as outpatients and partly as internal patients. However, serious 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, he stayed for seven days in the hospital. Karrer admits that it may sometimes take some time, "until the diagnosis is made and the right treatment started." Although the rabbit plague in Switzerland is almost never fatal to humans, it is nothing but harmless. "In 2012, we took care of a patient who had a very difficult story," recalls Karrer. "This patient would probably die from a tub without proper treatment."
Infection often over ticks
For a long time, it is supposed that transmission to humans occurs mainly through direct or indirect contact with sick animals (rabbits, mice, etc.). In the past, they were mainly hunters or farmers who were affected. However, a recent study shows that ticks are the most important source of infection in Switzerland. Their stings are responsible for about 60% of cases.
Researchers believe that the increase in rabies disease may be related to global warming and the alteration of recreational behavior. "But because there are not too many cases of rabies in the Winterthur and Andelfingen areas, it can not be said with certainty," explains Nadia Schürch, head of bacteriology at Spiez. "A case, for example, is that ticks find better conditions in these areas than elsewhere." (Landbote)
Created: 20/11/2018, 16:26 watch