WHAT IS A TICK?

Ticks are small parasites, which feed on the blood of mammals (including humans), reptiles and birds. They are closely related to spiders and mites.

Ticks do not have wings to fly. They also cannot jump. They travel by walking on the ground and up plants.

Ticks locate a host (the person or animal they will feed on) by picking up chemical cues from breath and body odour, as well as heat, vibrations and shadows. They latch onto a passing or resting host by using special hooks on their legs.

Some species of tick live in the burrows or nests of animals and birds and complete their life cycle there.

Current Know Distribution:

Ixodes ricinus  Click Here

Hyalomma marginatum Click Here

Vector: Ixodes Ricinus (Sheep/Deer Tick)

Disease: Lyme Disease

The incubation period of Borreliosis is generally from 3-32 days after tick exposure. As with other spirochaetal infections, Borreliosis occurs in stages, with remissions and exacerbations, and different clinical manifestations at each stage. The early stages may be asymptomatic, but the patient may present later with more systemic manifestations of the illness.

The early stages of disease classically presents with a single, expanding Erythema Migrans (EM or “bull’s-eye”) rash, which may last for weeks. However, the rash may be absent or remain hidden under hair or in an inaccessible place. Other early symptoms tend to be flu-like (mild and without the runny nose, cough and sore throat).

Vector: Ixodes Ricinus (Sheep/Deer Tick)

Disease: Human Babesiosis

These are pear-shaped organisms that parasitize the red blood cells of vertebrate hosts. They produce a malaria-like disease in livestock, pets and humans.

Babesiosis can range from asymptomatic to severe illness, and can result in death in asplenic, elderly, or immunecompromised individuals. The incubation period is generally 1-3 weeks, but may be as long as 9 weeks following inoculation from a tick bite. Symptoms may include fever, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, anaemia, jaundice and blood in the urine.

Vector: Ixodes Ricinus (Sheep/Deer Tick)

Disease: Anaplasmosis & Ehrilichiosis

Anaplasma phagocytophilum, a small bacterium infecting typically neutrophils transmitted by Ixodes ticks. Granulocytic anaplasmosis is the most widespread tick-borne infection in animals in Europe and both its geographic distribution and that of its tick vector, Ixodes Ricinus complex (mainly Ixodes Ricinus and Ixodes Persulcatus in Europe) are increasing in latitude and altitude.

The onset of clinical disease usually begins within 1-3 weeks of the tick bite. Early symptoms can be non-specific, including flu-like malaise, fever, chills and myalgias. More acute symptoms can include vomiting, acute weight loss, abdominal pain, cough, diarrhoea, haemorrages and renal failure.

Vector: Ixodes Ricinus (Sheep/Deer Tick)

Disease: Bartonellosis

Bartonellosis [bar-ton-el-lo-sis] is an infection that is caused by bacteria of the Bartonella species. These are faculative intracellular bacteria which are associated with a number of emerging anthropozoonoses. They have been detected in, or isolated from, diverse vertebrate hosts, including humans, various domestic animals, and a wide range of wildlife which serve as natural reservoirs for bacteria.

Bartonella infections can cause varying degrees of illness, from benign lymphadenopathy to life-threatening systemic disease. In cases of B. henselae infections, lymph nodes (especially around the head, neck, and upper limbs) may become inflamed. Fever, headache, and loss of appetite may occur. Rare complications are bacillary angiomatosis and Parinaud’s oculoglandular syndrome.

Vector: Ixodes Ricinus (Sheep/Deer Tick)

Disease: TBE

Tick-borne encephalitis [en-sef-e-li-tis] (TBE) is a Flavivirus that has spread from central to north-west Europe. It is closely related to Russian spring-summer encephalitis (RSSE) and Louping-ill. The virus can be transmitted both transovarially (from the female tick through the egg to the next generation) and transstadially (through each stage of the tick’s life cycle). Infection may also occur following the consumption of raw milk from goats, sheep or cows.