Ticks are waiting for their victims in the bushes

Ticks are waiting for their victims in the bushes

Ticks particularly widespread this year

Barbecuing, swimming, long walks or a picnic in the forest: The high summer temperatures are ideal for a variety of activities outside your own four walls - but caution is advised, because this year there are not only a lot of mosquitoes due to the weather, but also ticks.

Ticks are waiting in bushes for suitable hosts. Ticks are particularly active this year because the small arachnids like a warm, humid climate. Accordingly, adequate protection should be given to outdoor activities at the moment, because ticks are not only found worldwide, but are also found in various places, such as on loose leaves in the forest, on meadows or in the garden at home. Since the food of the parasite consists of the blood of humans or animal hosts such as mice, hedgehogs or dogs, the ticks on grass or in bushes are waiting for a suitable “victim”, whereby a short moment is enough in which the Claw animals with their front leg claws on shoes, pants or directly on the skin.

With the tick's saliva, diseases can be transmitted during “blood meal”. The search for a thin-skinned, moist and well-circulated area such as the squat, hairline or genital area begins - if this is found, the tick stabs and sucks the blood of the host on their mouth tools, whereby the animals can weigh up to 200 times as much at the end of a “blood meal” as when they are hungry. The bite as such is not painful for the host, because the arachnids release saliva before eating, which contains, among other things, an anesthetic, which ensures that the bite remains painless for the host, and an anti-inflammatory agent in the secretion ensures this that stimulation of the body's immune system at the injection site is avoided. Nevertheless, the tick's saliva poses a great risk, because since the tick repeatedly brings back indigestible food residues to its host by spitting during the blood meal, a large number of diseases can be quickly transmitted in this way, some of which can lead to serious health problems can.

TBE can cause inflammation of the brain and damage to the spinal cord. This includes so-called early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE), which is an infectious disease that, in particularly severe cases, can lead to brain inflammation and damage to the spinal cord. In almost all cases, TBE transmitters are infected ticks that pass on the pathogen to the host via saliva. Since the TBE virus does not always trigger symptoms, sufferers often do not even notice that they have been infected, but instead show symptoms like those of a "summer flu", ie fever, headache and body aches. In the best case, these symptoms disappear after a few days and the disease is over - however, after the symptoms have improved for the first time a few days later, fever reappears, which increases the risk of meningitis or inflammation of the brain and can also affect the spinal cord be. Depending on the course of the disease, severe headache and neck pain, nausea, seizures or even paralysis can occur - in the worst case, a TBE can even be fatal.

TBE risk not equally high everywhere The risk of developing TBE is not equally high in all parts of Germany; instead, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), there are areas in which you should exercise far more carefully outdoors than in others. According to the current "Epidemiological Bulletin" of the RKI, there are currently "Federal states with defined TBE risk areas: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, Thuringia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland" and "Federal states with isolated autochthonous TBE diseases, but in which no district fulfills the definition of a TBE risk area: Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein. ”According to the RKI, there is currently no increased risk in Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg, because here "TBE diseases have not yet been acquired," says the report in the "Epidemiological Bulletin".

Most common tick-borne infectious disease: Lyme disease
But there is still another danger, because the most common tick-borne infectious disease is the so-called “Lyme disease”, which is widespread in Germany compared to the TBE. Borreliosis is caused by the bacterium “Borrelia”, which the tick transports into the blood of the host. The disease is often difficult to diagnose, as a wide variety of symptoms can appear on the skin, nervous system, joints or heart - however, what is known as “reddening of the skin”, which denotes a red skin around the puncture site, is typical. Because Lyme disease in severe cases can lead to joint, heart muscle and brain inflammation, treatment should begin as early as possible, usually by prescribing antibiotics. In contrast to TBE against Lyme disease, there is no vaccination, so protective measures such as long trousers and long-sleeved clothing are particularly important here.

Unnoticed tick bite on a walk in the forest ends with Lyme disease Because of the large number of ticks, many people have had experiences with ticks this year - especially those who spend a lot of time outdoors. Take, for example, Anna Schneider from the Sauerland region, who was lucky because a long walk in the forest ended in Lyme disease - even though she hadn't noticed anything at first: “I was glad that I had never had anything to do with ticks I only had to remove one of my dogs, ”said the lawyer. Now, however, a tick had stuck to her thigh unnoticed during the walk, had an extensive blood meal there without pain and thereby transmitted the pathogens. Even during the thorough search in the evening, Anna Schneider did not notice the tick. Instead, the shock came a few days later: "Suddenly I noticed the famous red skin ring around the place where Tick ticked me," continued Anna Schneider - "I am then straight to the doctor and he was diagnosed with Lyme disease. I then had to take antibiotics so that after a few days everything was over. ”(Nr)

Also read about ticks:
New pathogen is transmitted by ticks
Protection against ticks when staying in the country
Healthy nettles are not weeds
Doctors: Carefully remove ticks with tweezers
TBE and Lyme disease from tick bites
Health: No tick vaccination

Photo credit: Echino /

Author and source information

Video: Ticks: The Actual Worst (September 2020).