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Tick-borne infection is on the increase and so is Lyme Disease
This affects YOU!
Would you consider the possibility of such a tiny spider-like insect infecting you with no less than 4 distinct forms of bacterial/parasitic infection?
Tick-borne diseases can lead to:
Intractable pain, disabling fatigue, heart block, paralysis and even psychosis.
What is the threat in the UK?
Research by scientists from the University of Oxford shows that ticks (small, eight-legged, blood-sucking parasites - part of the mite family) are becoming more abundant, infecting cattle, sheep and humans with a range of diseases. Trials show that infected ticks currently populate many parts of the UK. Studies carried out would indicate that cases are being under-recorded.
In the UK the most common tick is the sheep tick (Ixodes Ricinus) and is about the size of a sesame seed (2.5 mm). It is oval, with four pairs of legs and a flattened body. It is also known as the deer tick and also the castor bean tick.
Ticks are most active in October and November and again during April and May but as the climate is becoming warmer the period of activity appears to be more prolonged. Ticks commonly attach to deer, dogs, horses and humans but are also known to infest other forms of wildlife such as woodland and migratory birds, mice, other small rodents, hares, badgers and foxes.
Ticks are known to transmit several diseases including Borreliosis (Lyme disease), Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, Bartonella (Cat Scratch disease) in humans and animals, Louping ill and Tick Fever in sheep.
During Autumn and spring the adults may be found "questing" - waiting in ambush on vegetation from ground level to about 18 inches high (deer belly height) for a suitable host to pass by.
Unfed females are rusty red with a small black shield on the back, and males are smaller and uniformly dark. After feeding for up to ten days on any mammal including humans, the adult female swells to the size of a small pea, and becoming blue-black.
How can you best prevent being bitten by a tick?
Walk in the centre of woodland paths to minimize tick encounters on overhanging grass and brush.
Tuck trousers into socks so any ticks that climb on will crawl on the outside and be less likely to bite. Light coloured clothing should be worn so the ticks will be easier to spot. Smooth materials such as windbreakers are harder for ticks to grab onto. Consideration should also be given to clothing with elasticised or drawstring toggles at the ankles, wrists and waist areas.
When travelling through dense undergrowth likely to tug at clothing proper leg/shin garters or alternatively duct tape could also be used to yet further reduce possible opportunity for tick bites.
For more information download the full text here
Hill Walking leaflet in pdf.
Hill Walking leaflet in .txt