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Friday, July 19, 2024

Drastic increase in Lyme disease cases. 'Ticks could basically be everywhere'

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The number of confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Poland is growing. From the beginning of the year to the end of June, there were 9,134. This is more than in the same period last year. In the last six months, 159 cases of tick-borne encephalitis have also been recorded.

In the forest, in the park, in the meadow, in the garden, on the lawn you pass every day. – Ticks can be basically everywhere – the forester points out.

Hence the terrifying statistics. The number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease in the first half of the year – year on year – increased by almost one and a half thousand. There were also slightly more cases of tick-borne encephalitis. When we compare these data with those from two and three years ago, we can unfortunately see how rapidly the tick attack is intensifying.

Number of cases in the first half of 2021-2024TVN24

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There are almost three times as many cases of Lyme disease and almost five times as many cases of tick-borne encephalitis. In just three years.

– We have recently had mild winters, which did not lead to the freezing of these primary forms of ticks – points out Dr. Grażyna Cholewińska-Szymańska, a specialist in infectious diseases, head of the Provincial Infectious Diseases Hospital in Warsaw.

– If there is no snow, if the temperature does not drop below five degrees, then ticks are active, they are hungry – adds Dr. Jarosław Pacoń from the Department of Parasitology and Invasive Diseases of the University of Life Sciences in Wrocław.

How to effectively protect yourself against ticks?

Statistically, every 10th tick is considered to be a carrier of bacteria and viruses dangerous to humans, but in some places it may be even every second one.

Ticks are said to be “silent bandits” because we can be unaware that they are parasitizing us. Therefore, the longer we stay in green areas, the better we need to be prepared.

Łuksz Szczubik from the Biała Podlaska Forest District shows how to protect yourself. First of all, you should wear hats, jackets and long trousers. Additionally, it is best to tuck the trouser legs into socks. In addition, all clothing should be sprayed with a tick repellent. – Because if we don't do this, the tick will enter quietly – he says.

After returning home – and here it should be emphasized that ticks are now active practically all year round – you must take a shower and have your whole body checked. Below is an atlas of points that should not be missed.

The most common places where ticks feedState Sanitary Inspection/Ministry of Health

– Especially in children who are very mobile, we check the skin and if the tick is removed before the day is up, before 24 hours, this is the best prevention – says Professor Joanna Zajkowska from the Clinic of Infectious Diseases and Neuroinfections of the Medical University of Białystok.

– The time of removal is more important than doing it 100 percent professionally. Besides, there is no reason for a professional to remove the tick, we should remove the tick ourselves – informs Michał Matyjaszczyk, head of the Department of Family Medicine at the Institute of the Polish Mother's Health Center in Łódź.

It is worth protecting the brain against ticks with a vaccine

Professor Maciej Grzybek recommends – in addition to using commonly available repellents – having ordinary tweezers at hand.

– We forget about all the superstitious methods. We don't smear the tick with butter or lard, we don't pour alcohol on it, we don't burn it, we use tweezers, we pull the tick out with one decisive movement – says Professor Maciej Grzybek from the Department of Tropical Parasitology of the Medical University of Gdańsk.

READ ALSO: Alarming statistics: More Lyme disease infections and tick-borne encephalitis cases

We only go to the doctor when we notice the so-called migrans erythema typical of Lyme disease on our body or when – as in the case of tick-borne encephalitis – after removing the tick, we experience fever, joint pain and headaches.

It is worth protecting the brain from ticks with a vaccine. The world's first vaccine for Lyme disease should also be ready in a year.

Main image source: TVN24



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