Ticks swim into the organism

Ticks swim into the organism / Health News

Research: Ticks swim in the human body


Almost everyone is disgusted and people who have been bitten by them sometimes even suffer from the sequelae. Do not spend too much time with a tick bite, as the parasites have gained dubious fame as carriers of human and animal diseases. An in itself harmless tick bite can be a danger to humans. Pathogens can enter the body of the blood host.

A research team from Charité and Harvard University has gone to the trouble of closely monitoring what's going on in the actual bite. With a movement very similar to breaststroke, the arachnids dig themselves under the skin of their victims. In doing so, the skin is scratched with the jaw claws in order to firmly anchor itself in the human or animal with the barb located on the lower jaw. To observe this, this process was precisely documented with film and microscope photographs of the common woodblock (Ixodes ricinu) and the analysis published in the "Proceedings B" of the British Royal Society. This species is known to transmit the dangerous Lyme disease pathogen.

During the catch, they continue to swim
For the investigation, the team had ticks dropped on the ears of numbed hairless mice and then watched as they then drilled through the skin. „The tick connects its swimming movements with the firm anchoring in the host. We do not know any other organism that combines these two processes“, said biologist Dania Richter, now working in Braunschweig, who was involved in the research. For about a week, the animal bites itself to suck the blood from the host unless it is noticed and removed beforehand.“The process takes several minutes. Sometimes it works even faster, when the tick is quite sure that she has found the right host.“

Remnants in the skin are not dangerous
If a piece gets stuck in the skin when removing a tick, it is not as dangerous as most people assume.„The hypostome, the barbed jaw, breaks off. There is no danger, because there are no pathogens in it“, said the biologist. It is already known that the Lyme borreliosis pathogen is very rarely transmitted within the first 24 hours after the tick bite. A regular screening of the body, if you have been unprotected on meadows and in forests, can thus avoid Lyme disease.„The tick should be removed as soon as possible, the spot disinfected and then should be taken to the physical condition“, recommends the expert.

Red skin ring is a typical sign of Lyme disease
Typical signs of Lyme disease include the red skin ring, which is clearly visible around the puncture site. Do sufferers then also joint and muscle pain, paralysis in the arms or legs and skin lesions, but then quickly see a doctor If the disease is not detected early, late effects such as joint inflammation (arthritis), myocardial or neuritis are possible. (Fr)

Picture credits: Tamara Hoffmann