Ticks are blood-sucking parasites that attach themselves to humans, and around one-third of them are now shown to have borrelia – a bacterial infection – which can spread dreaded illnesses such as Lyme disease.
Every year, thousands of Danes are infected with borrelia, according to Rigshospitalet. About 150 of them contract the disease.
DTU Veterinary Institute’s latest figures indicate there have been a record number of ticks in 2019 compared to previous years.
According to a study published on Science Direct in April 2019, ticks are transported from migratory birds in the spring and autumn. They are often dropped off in gardens, backyards and forests.
A sample of ticks taken from over 800 birds was used for the study, and 36.9 percent were proven to contain the borrelia DNA.
This means that approximately one-third of the parasites found in your backyards carry the infectious disease borrelia.
There are some measures to avoid the ticks, as recommended by Odense University Hospital: be fully clothed in long trousers and sleeves and cover the ankles when walking through the woods or grassy areas, and wear light-coloured clothes as they make it easier to spot the ticks.
There are also several borrelia test-kits available on the market.
If you are bitten by a tick, there are certain cures to implement – remove the tick with tweezers as soon as you spot it to minimise the risk and pay attention to the area around the bite.
“Sometimes the jaws of the fleet remain seated. They do not infect, but can still cause some skin irritation,” advised Nanna Skaarup Anderson, a researcher in tick-transmitted infections at Odense University Hospital.
The most common symptom that borrelia has been transmitted – a red ring with a radius of around five centimetres – becomes evident between two and six weeks. In this case, contact your doctor immediately so he or she can start you on a penicillin treatment.