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Hyalomma Giant Tail transmits typhoid in Germany

Tropical hyaloma tick has already been spotted in two countries. She obviously managed to spend the winter in Germany. Like its relatives in Europe, it can transmit dangerous diseases, including typhoid, a bacterial disease that causes fever, muscle and joint pain, and a typical rash.

Doctors at the University of Hohenheim and the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology announced on Wednesday that the Rickettsia aeschlimanii pathogen was discovered in a tick that killed a horse owner from North Rhine-Westphalia. The man has been successfully treated with antibiotics. For him, however, the pathogen could no longer be detected.

According to experts, it was the birds that brought the disgusting animals to Germany. In fact, hyaline cloths are common in southern Europe, Asia, and Africa. But now she too has been withdrawn to Germany.

With birds to Europe

There is much to suggest that the ticks did not move north recently, but rather earlier. They are obviously in winter in Germany. This particularly points to the age of bloodthirsty animals, which usually inhabit as larvae and nymphs in the migratory birds of prey. Unlike larvae, the nymphs on the outside resemble an adult animal. These are striped yellow orange, their legs are patterned and are about two inches much larger than ordinary ticks in our ascent.

Common woodcutter and the margins of Hyalomme (image-alliance / Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology / L. Chitimia-Dobler)

Ordinary wood (left) is only half the size of a hyaloma tick

Already in the past year, heat periods have been pronounced in Germany. This is the perfect time for small parasites from the tropics. The heat is a sign for them to leave the winter hiding place and find a suitable host. In the case of the ticks introduced here, these were evidently horses, as bloodsuckers like to stock up on large animals.

Ticks on the hunt

But not only are horses attractive for prey because of hyaline ticks, they also do not despise human blood. Unlike native ticks, exotics do not sit in the grass waiting for a suitable mammal to pass. They can move towards their potential host. They effortlessly manage to cover the hundred meters themselves.

It is a myth that ticks sit on trees and wait for a potential victim to pass by and release them to animals or humans. They sit underground, in shrubs and grass. From there, they can be removed and then settled on animal or human. When they satisfy their hunger, they automatically fall.

Rabbits Common Woodblock Ixodes castor (Imago / Blickwinkel / H. Bouwmeester)

The ticks do not fall from the trees

A dangerous disease

By then, we may have already been infected with Lyme disease or FSME – early summer meningitis encephalitis. It can lead to brain inflammation. Hyalomma can also cause a so-called tick. This disease is transmitted by the Alkhurma virus. An infected victim can feel the temperature. These include the so-called tick-borne typhoid fever.

Typhoid fever is one of the "Rickettsioses". Bacteria trigger these feverish diseases. Because they do not have their own metabolism, they depend on hosts such as animals or humans, which serve as a reservoir for the pathogen. Mites and lice are transmitted, as well as ticks. These vehicles enter the body of their future host. The tiny creatures leave their feces there, containing millions of so-called rickets. They can in turn be contagious for months. However, it is not possible to transfer from one person to another.

Bangladesh migratory birds in Tanguar Haor, Sunamganj Province (DW / M. M. Rahman)

The ticks come with migratory birds from the tropics to Europe

From ticks in humans

Ticks are known to suck blood from our veins. In the process, they transfer their feces to the skin. Pathogens enter the bloodstream through small wounds or scratches.

If inhaled feces are inhaled, bacteria can also enter the body. Serious illnesses can occur when bacteria settle in the kidneys, heart or under the skin, trigger inflammatory reactions and destroy blood vessels. The infection only works if the tick has previously sucked blood on a human or animal that has been infected with the bacterium or virus.

Do not worry

The Hyalomma tick has apparently not yet reached the people of Germany, but it affects horses, because those bloodsuckers from the warm climate were discovered there.

Yet, there are not enough tropical Hyalomma ticks to form a dangerous population. They have to mate for that. The prerequisites must be correct for the development of larvae and nymphs. But their numbers are too small, only a few animals are mentioned. Hyalomma is one of about 600 species of ticks worldwide. Nice to look at is not one of them.