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Ticks in Poland. Not only is their number growing, but so is their range. “They are as high as the hosts go”

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Ticks in Poland are spreading not only in forests, but more and more often they can be found in urban areas. And although not every insect carries dangerous pathogens that cause diseases such as tick-borne encephalitis or Lyme disease, we should always be careful.

Not only in forests – ticks feel better and better in cities, so you can bring them even after a walk in the park. Not only are we at risk, but so are our pets.

“Seven a day, it was getting out of him. More [jest – przyp. red.] here in the park than in the forest, it was especially strange – says Agnieszka, who had to seek help from a veterinarian after seeing that her 14-year-old dog had an insect in the corner of his eye.

Information about ticksNational forests

There is no snow, there are more ticks

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Nature experts have been noticing for some time that not only their numbers are growing, but also their range of occurrence.

– In the last few years, many studies indicate that urban and urban areas are the same or even greater habitat for ticks as forests – says Prof. Piotr Tryjanowski from the University of Life Sciences in Poznań.

– They have the strength to climb into low brush, up to a meter. They are at the height at which the hosts walk – says Krzysztof Jakubiszak, a forester from the Otomin Forestry.

TicksNational forests

Last year alone, 445 people suffered from tick-borne encephalitis. This is much more than in 2021, when “only” 210 patients were recorded. In turn, according to data for 2023, by March 31, 44 people had contracted the disease. This is so worrying that spring has only just begun.

– Winters are what they are, which is generally weaker, there is less snow. Frosts are also short-term and ticks start their activity as soon as it is a few degrees “plus” – explains Jakubiszak.

The consequences can be deplorable

Doctors can’t say exactly how long an infection can take, but they know that even getting rid of the tick quickly may not be the solution.

– Tick-borne encephalitis is a disease that can be transmitted even if the tick is removed very quickly – says Dr. Stefan Żeromski in Krakow. In most cases, the disease is mild, but in some it can be very serious and result in, for example, paralysis of the limbs, and in extreme cases – even death.

Equally dangerous can be Lyme disease – a disease caused by bacteria that can be transmitted by every fifth tick. Time is very important here – the faster the insect is removed, the lower the risk of infection with the pathogen.

– Lyme disease requires the tick to feed on our skin for at least 24 hours – explains Prof. Joanna Zajkowska, an epidemiologist from the University Clinical Hospital in Bialystok.

Even young children and teenagers can get Lyme disease.

– I tripped on the sidewalk. I also had the same problem on the stairs and it was due to neurology. My knees were badly damaged. My meniscuses are all cracked, I also had problems with my spine, I was quite depressed – says Alan Dziubras, who was bitten by a tick at the age of 12, and was diagnosed with Lyme disease only five years later.

Lyme disease can be contracted after a tick biteAdobe Stock

We shouldn’t be afraid

However, this does not mean that we should be afraid to leave the house and enjoy the benefits of nature, experts assure. – Contact with greenery has therapeutic functions, so why should we be afraid, it is better to protect ourselves in a different way – says prof. Tryjanowski. It can be helpful to use only designated paths, wear shoes and clothes that cover the body, thoroughly shake off clothes, and also thoroughly examine your body.

You can see the entire material by Katarzyna Czupryńska-Chabros here:

Not only is the number of ticks increasing, but also the range of occurrence of ticksTVN24

Main photo source: 346150710/Adobe Stock

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