More than 500.000 tick bites in two months likely in the Netherlands
The number of people being bitten by ticks has been increasing over the years, and this year is no exception. In fact, tick bite records are expected to be broken. Researchers from the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and Wageningen University predict that more than half a million people will be bitten by a tick during this month and the next.
Increase in tick bites in the Netherlands
This year, a record number of tick bites are expected. Should the numbers add up to the proposed figure after next month, half of the yearly average number of tick bites will already have been met, and that in only two months' time. According to the RIVM, during the first five months of 2018, there was already a 29 percent increase in the number of people reporting a tick bite.
The increase in tick bites is for the most part due to the large habitat that ticks have in the Netherlands, along with the extended period of time in which they are active as a result of warmer temperatures during Dutch springtime. Additionally, the number of animals which are hosts to the tick is increasing. This means that ticks can lay more eggs, increasing their population.
Lyme disease in the Netherlands
Around 27.000 people are infected with Lyme disease each year; this is four times as much as it was 20 years ago. Tick bites can cause this disease, which can cause issues such as chronic pain, fatigue and concentration problems.
Ticks can become active at temperatures above 5C. So, it is a good idea to watch out for them and check yourself and your clothing, especially in parts of the country, such as the south, where temperatures are the highest. However, it is also important not to panic, as not all ticks are infected with Lyme disease.
What should you be wary of?
Ticks can usually be found in bushes and tall grass and transfer themselves to people or animals passing by. Even if you are just in your garden this summer, it’s best to check your skin afterwards. In particular, ticks can usually be found in the groin area, the backs of knees, armpits, behind ears and between the butt cheeks. They should be removed as soon as possible.
Once a tick has been removed, the affected area needs to monitored for three months for symptoms of Lyme disease, such as a red ring around the area or fever-like symptoms. If you have been bitten and are experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease, do not hesitate to contact your doctor.
The RIVM asks that those who have been bitten, or have contracted Lyme disease, report this on the tick radar website.