New diseases in the baggage: experts warn against tropical ticks



Slightly five times the size of the local wooden buck, the legs shot and rather quickly: the tropical tick, the hyalomma, was first published in Germany. Specimens were found in the area of ​​Hanover, in Osnabrück and in the Wetterau. Presumably they were introduced via birds, where the nymphs and nymphs bite the ticks. And they will not be the only ones.

If you now find seven or eight ticks, that does not mean that they are the only ticks in Germany. And the animals multiply and spread very quickly.


Diploma biologist Peter Hagedorn | Robert Koch Institute

Hyalomma are hunters!

Adult tropical ticks prefer large prey animals. Dogs, sheep, cattle, horses belong – and people too. And Hyalomma hunts for sign. "The omma stands for the eye," says parasitologist Ute Mackenstedt from the University of Hohenheim. "That means that the animals can see you, they run towards you, making them much more agile, so much faster."

You can see us, can respond to us up to ten meters away. And the animals can follow us at a distance of up to one hundred meters.


Parasitolologist Ute Mackenstedt | University of Hohenheim

Carrier of the sometimes deadly Crimean Congo fever

All ticks can transmit diseases. Each type of tick is specialized in certain pathogens. In the previously studied Hyalomma from Germany, the scientists found a bacterium that can cause typhoid fever. The disease is good to treat with anibiotics. But tropical doctors know Hyalomma as a carrier of Crimean Congo fever. "In most cases you have a slight fever, abdominal pain, nausea", says tropical physician Professor Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit of the Bernhard Nocht Institute of Tropical Medicine. In some cases, the disease is also deadly.

This disease can be associated with severe bleeding, which can eventually lead to death because you simply bleed to death.


Tropical medicine Prof. dr. Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit | Bernhard Nocht Institute

At the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Tübingen, the new sign is carefully examined. However, the experts see no reason for the alarm. "All in all, the chance of getting such a infection from a tick that is here is very low," explains Alfred L. Bissinger.

This is how you can protect yourself

Hyalomma occurs in hot areas, in Europe so far mainly in Turkey and Kosovo, but also in parts of Spain. Usually it is too cold for them in this country and the animals die. That is different this summer. In the tropical heat the sign feels good in the north. To protect yourself, certain precautions are appropriate.

  • You can prevent the animals from sticking, for example by placing socks over their trouser legs. So the sign can not touch the trouser legs.
  • You have to look carefully and collect animals when you are outside.
  • You can work with fabrics that do not find sign particularly attractive. Common insect repellants also help against the tropical tick.
  • In case of a bite, remove the animal as soon as possible so that it can not pass on its pathogens.

For symptoms at the doctor

Sick people must be strictly isolated. Because if the virus is not transmitted by the tick but by the infected blood of a human, it is almost always deadly. "If, for example, you are bitten by a tick in Turkey and get symptoms, you should of course go to the doctor", advises Prof. Schmidt-Chanasit. "Then a diagnosis is made, if this is positive, this can be prevented by pointing a difficult route to a medicine."


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