Ticks are small animals in the mite family that are only a few millimeters in size but can cause major trouble. Everywhere in the country, they are of great concern to us, especially those who are carriers of Borrelia bacteria at risk of contracting Lyme disease.
Grand Est was particularly impressed
Whether you are walking in the jungle, public park or in your own garden it is hard to escape. The Grand Estate is particularly concerned. According to a map published in April 2021 by INTE (National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment) as part of a participatory research program, Voges is located in the areas of CTQ, Meerte-at-Moselle, Moselle, Boss-Rin, Hot-Rin and Grand Est. The highest number of bites were reported.
According to this study, 35% of ticks analyzed in our area contain pathogenic factor, which causes the disease.
While most of the bites were reported in the wild, the number of bites in private gardens increased in the spring of 2020, probably due to an increase in attendance due to control measures.
Spectrum of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease (or Lyme borreliosis) is an infectious disease, not an infection. According to the Grand Estate Regional Health Agency (ARS), zoonoses (diseases transmitted from animals to humans) are most common in northeastern France.
The first characteristic feature of a tick bite is a circular rash, which appears as a red spot around the ring. This is erythema migraine, which usually appears at the site of the bite, lasting from a few days to a few weeks. It is accompanied by headache and stiffness.
In the absence of treatment, the initial outbreak phase begins with manifestations at the nerve or joint level (inflammatory pain). The last stage, sometimes occurring several months after the bite, is accompanied by more severe and persistent nervous and joint signs, followed by chronic fatigue.
To ensure specific care for patients with so-called Tick-Burn Diseases (MVT), the “National Plan to Combat Lyme Disease and Tick-Burn Diseases” provides for the identification of specialized care centers adapted and graduated according to the complexity of the situation. : Capacity Centers (CC MVT) and Reference Centers (CR MVT). They are listed on the ARS website.
Note, however, that an infected tick bite does not automatically transmit the disease. In addition, a tick that is removed quickly poses a lower risk.
How do you protect yourself?
Ticks thrive in moist, bright places, as well as in areas where there are animals such as rats, deer or cattle. They do not sail from trees, but lie on tall grass. Spring and summer are the most favorable seasons, because we walk in light clothing, but they are calm throughout the year, thanks to the mild and temperate climate. Climate change is also an aggravating factor, as it is conducive to their spread (hence the risk of spreading Lyme disease).
To limit the risks, three simple tips should be followed. First of all, choose walking areas carefully, avoiding undergrowth, fields and tall grass if possible and walking in the middle of the path. Then, dress adequately, i.e. covering and light colors. Cover your head, summer and winter with long sleeves, pants, high socks, shoes and most importantly (ticks are really in the hair). Finally, repellents can be used in addition, mostly in exposed areas: around the collar, around the wrists, and under the pants. Attention, they are contraindicated in pregnant women, young children and immunocompromised individuals. Natural products like lemon can be used, but it is better to take the advice of a pharmacist.
When returning from a walk, you should carefully examine the whole family, especially the folds of skin (behind the ears, below the knees, under the armpits, groin …), scalp, hair, forgetting objects (bags, clothes, blankets), and pets.
“Mapping of Tick Bite Risk in France: Latest Results of the CTQ Program and New Section on Proximity Risk”, Press Release from INRAE (April 2021)