Table of contents:
- From coronavirus to ticks: going outdoors does not guarantee safety
- What are they?
- Ixodid ticks and their danger to humans
- How does infection occur
- Where do they live?
- What should I do if bitten by a tick?
From coronavirus to ticks: going outdoors does not guarantee safety
A foray into the forest or a summer cottage in May, away from the epidemic-ridden city, does not promise a quiet rest for an unprepared person. Together with nature, ticks awaken in spring. On the last day before the holidays, we will tell you in detail how to protect yourself from an unpleasant meeting, why there are more ticks every year, as well as the reasons for their vitality and aggressiveness on the last day before the holidays
Ticks are one of the oldest animals on the planet.
What are they?
Ticks are often called insects, in fact, they are animals belonging to the type of arthropods, the class of arachnids. They are the largest group in the class - at the moment there are about 54,000 species of ticks in the world. However, every year more and more attention is attracted by the family of the order Ixodida or ixodid ticks, as they are often called. It is about the representatives of this family, which actually numbers more than 650 species, that comes up every time with the onset of spring, since it is they who pose the greatest danger to humans and animals.
Ixodid ticks and their danger to humans
The danger of ixodid ticks is that these tiny creatures live in all corners of our planet and can parasitize on the bodies of any warm-blooded animals. At the same time, they are carriers of deadly diseases, the list of which is constantly growing. So, if earlier the most common were tick-borne encephalitis (a virus that affects the human central nervous system), ixodic tick-borne borreliosis (an infection that disrupts the functioning of the musculoskeletal system), monocytic ehrlichiosis (an infection that affects the liver and bone marrow) and granulocytic anaplasmosis (a blood disease with symptoms poisoning), today ticks are increasingly causing tularemia (an infection that affects the lymph nodes) and rickettsiosis (an infection characterized by fever and rash).
President of the Association of Organizations and Specialists in the Field of Veterinary Safety, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor Lilia Surgucheva:
- Today, in addition to the classic disease for ticks - encephalitis, they have become carriers of such a number of diseases that even we, biologists, do not always know about. Literally every day we learn about new ones. And among them are not only infectious, parasitic or viral, but also such as, for example, human anaplasmosis - a new vector-borne intractable blood disease. Or borreliosis - a disease that affects the nervous system. The list of diseases is huge. And, what is most unpleasant, one tick can be a reservoir of several infections at once.
Tick-borne borreliosis (Lyme disease)
Material from our Encyclopedia
Read the article
How does infection occur
Ixodid ticks have no vision at all. But there are organs of touch and smell, which work very well. It is with the help of them that ticks choose hunting places - paths along which people and animals move. Importantly, ticks do not jump, fly or fall from trees - they live on the ground, in tall grass, in the undergrowth. In a word, in the shade - mites cannot stand sunlight, but they feel heat and carbon dioxide unmistakably. Favorite places of ticks are where the skin is thin, which means that the blood vessels are close. These are the scalp, ears, elbow and knee joints, arms and legs. The tick transmits infections to the victim with its saliva. The longer he drinks blood, the higher the chance of infection. There is an important point: the tick may take up to 24 hours from the moment of the first contact with the skin,before it feeds on the host's blood. Therefore, it is important to remember that if you are bitten by a tick, you need to get tested and see a doctor as soon as possible.
Where do they live?
Unfortunately, everywhere. In the countries of Eastern, Central and Northern Europe, in America, Mongolia and China, in Australia and even in Antarctica, where migrating birds get on the skin. Of course, ticks are very common in Russia. This year, scientists call the Tomsk, Kemerovo, Tyumen, Sverdlovsk regions, Altai and others the most endemic territories, but the geography of tick distribution is much wider. Moreover, every year both the range and the number of ticks increase. Scientists believe the reasons for this are evolution and environmental degradation.
President of the Association of Organizations and Specialists in the Field of Veterinary Safety, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor Lilia Surgucheva.
- The first reason is evolution. Like any living organism, ticks are improving. So, for example, if earlier they "woke up" from 5 degrees Celsius, now they are able to do this already at zero temperature. If summer was previously considered a dangerous time, now we are talking about the period from mid-spring to mid-autumn. The second reason is man's careless attitude to nature. Scientists have noticed that ticks start where there is debris and mess. And this is most likely related to the fact that the territory of tick activity has greatly increased in Russia.
The fact that in the course of evolution ticks "grow smarter" is confirmed by the latest research of scientists. In the summer of 2019, a new species was discovered in Central Europe. It is a mite of the genus hyalomma, which carries several infectious diseases, including two types of viral fever. And in the spring of 2020, a new species was discovered by Russian scientists from Tomsk. Insects with signs of hybridization can potentially carry a new strain of tick-borne encephalitis virus. This issue is currently being investigated.
Acarologists (tick specialists) are also reporting new dangers. For example, in the course of the latest research, it has been found that some species of ticks are capable of carrying the larval stages of helminths. And the Varroa mite can lead to mass death of bees and thus affect the development of civilization.
How to protect yourself from ticks
1. When going to the forest, wear light-colored clothing. On it, the ticks are better visible, and you can remove them before they have time to suck.
2. Clothes should completely cover the skin - long sleeves with cuffs, tuck trousers into socks, put a kerchief or a hood on your head.
3. Before going into the forest, be sure to use a tick repellent. Treat pets with a special product.
4. After returning, examine yourself and each other carefully. If you have a dog with you, do not forget to examine it as well.
5. In the forest, do not sit down or lie on the grass, do not hang the hammock in dense thickets.
6. If you have a summer cottage, twice a year carry out acaricidal treatment of the site.
7. You can pre-vaccinate against encephalitis.
What should I do if bitten by a tick?
1. You need to remove the tick. If he sucked recently, it will be easier to do, if more than an hour - more difficult. To do this, first apply a few drops of vegetable oil to the tick and the bite site, wait about 20 minutes and gently, grabbing the tick by the torso (preferably with tweezers), very slowly try to remove it with counterclockwise rotational movements. It is important to get the tick with its head - for laboratory staff, its head is the most informative, it contains the salivary glands.
2. Lubricate the wound left after the bite with iodine, brilliant green or hydrogen peroxide. Take any antihistamine as soon as possible to rule out allergies.
3. Do not discard the removed tick. Place the insect in a clean bottle and take it to a virology lab where it will be tested for viruses. And be sure to go to an infectious disease doctor yourself. Hurry up - an informative tick test is only possible within 72 hours of being bitten.
Be more attentive and take care of yourself and your loved ones!