Ticks are lurking in the bushes for their victims
Ticks are particularly prevalent this year
Barbecues, swimming, long walks or a picnic in the forest: the midsummer temperatures are ideal for a variety of activities outside your own four walls - but caution is advised, because this year is due to the weather not only very many mosquitoes, but also ticks.
Ticks wait in bushes for suitable hosts
Ticks are particularly active this year, because the little arachnids like a humid-warm climate. Accordingly, more attention should be paid to adequate protection for outdoor activities, as ticks not only occur worldwide but also in various places, such as on loose foliage in the forest, on meadows or in the home garden. Since the food of the parasite consists of the blood of humans or animal hosts such as mice, hedgehogs or dogs, the ticks on grasses or in bushes wait for a suitable one „Victim“, where a short moment is sufficient, in which the animals with their frontal claws cling to shoes, pants or directly to the skin.
By saliva the tick can at „blood meal“ Be transmitted diseases
Afterwards, the search for a thin-skinned, moist and well-perfused area such as the squat, the hairline or the genital area begins - if this is found, the tick stabs and absorbs the blood of the host with their mouthparts, the animals at the end of a „blood meal“ weigh up to 200 times as much as in a hungry state. The sting as such is not painful to the host, because the arachnids give off before eating saliva, which contains, inter alia, an anesthetic, which ensures that the sting remains painless for the host, also provides an anti-inflammatory drug in the secretion in that stimulation of the body's own immune defense at the puncture site is avoided. Nevertheless, the saliva of the tick carries a great risk, because the tick during the blood meal again and again transported by spitting indigestible food residues back to their host, just in this way quickly a variety of diseases can be transmitted, which sometimes lead to serious damage to health can.
TBE can lead to encephalitis and spinal cord injury
These include in particular the so-called tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), which is an infectious disease that can lead to encephalitis and damage to the spinal cord in particularly severe cases. Transducers of FSME are in almost all cases infected ticks that pass the pathogen via saliva to the host. Since the TBE virus does not always trigger symptoms, sufferers often do not even notice that they have become infected, but first show symptoms like one „summer flu“, fever, headache and body aches. In the best case, these symptoms disappear after a few days and the disease is over - but often occurs after an initial improvement of the symptoms a few days later, again fever, which increases the risk of meningitis or encephalitis, also can also affect the spinal cord his. Depending on the course of the disease can also cause severe head and neck pain, nausea, seizures or even paralysis - in the worst case, an FSME even fatal.
TBE risk is not the same everywhere
The risk of contracting TBE is not the same in all parts of Germany, but according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) there are areas in which one should be more cautious outdoors than in others. Accordingly, according to the current „Epidemiological bulletin“ of the RKI at present „Federal states with defined TBE risk areas: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, Thuringia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland“ such as „Länder with occasional autochthonous TBE disorders, in which, however, no district fulfills the definition for a TBE risk area: Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein.“ In Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg, according to the RKI, there is currently no increased risk, because here are „So far, no TBE disorders have been acquired“, so the report in „Epidemiological bulletin“.
Most common tick-borne infectious disease: Lyme disease
But there is another danger, because the most common tick-borne infectious disease, with several tens of thousands of cases per year, is the so-called „Lyme disease“, which is widespread in Germany compared to FSME. The causative agent of Lyme disease is the bacterial species „Borrelia“, which transports the tick into the blood of the host with the sting. The disease is often difficult to diagnose, since a variety of symptoms on the skin, nervous system, joints or heart can occur - typical, however, the so-called „migrans“, what is called a red skin ring around the puncture site. Because Lyme disease can lead to joint, heart muscle and brain inflammation in severe cases, treatment should begin as early as possible, usually by prescribing antibiotics. Since there is no vaccine against Lyme disease unlike TBE, protective measures such as long pants and long-sleeved clothing are particularly important here.
Unrecognized tick bite on forest walk ends with Lyme disease
Because of the many ticks, many people have experienced ticks this year - especially those who are out and about in the country. For example, Anna Schneider from the Sauerland, who was lucky in misfortune, because an extensive walk through the forest ended with a Lyme disease - even though she had not noticed anything at first: „I was glad that I had had nothing to do with ticks before, only my dog had to be removed“, so the lawyer. Now, however, during the walk, a tick had clung unnoticed to her thigh, there painlessly taken an extensive blood meal and transmitted thereby the pathogens. Even when thoroughly searching in the evening Anna Schneider had not noticed the tick, instead came a few days later, the shocking moment: „Suddenly I noticed the famous red ring around the spot where Tick bit me“, Anna Schneider continues - „I'm straight to the doctor and he has diagnosed Lyme disease. I had to take antibiotics then, so it was all over after a few days.“ (No)
Also read about ticks:
New pathogen is transmitted by ticks
Protection against ticks while staying in the countryside
Healthy nettles are not weeds
Doctors: carefully remove ticks with tweezers
TBE and Lyme disease by tick bites
Health: No vaccination against ticks
Picture credits: Echino