Home Sciences Ticks already appear in Spain a month earlier than usual

Ticks already appear in Spain a month earlier than usual

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The problem of proliferation ticks in Spain is becoming something very serious, since they already appear a month earlier than usual until very recently. Both the increase in temperatures due to global warming and other ecological and biological factors are triggering these species. Experts do not hesitate to speak of an “exponential increase” in their populations for a few decades, which multiplies the risks for people and animals, since these insects are carriers of diseases with serious effects on humans, livestock and pets.

The professor at the Institute for Research in Hunting Resources of the University of Castilla-La Mancha (IREC-CSIC) José de la Fuente points out the factors that explain this unprecedented rise in ticks. Rising temperatures is one of them. The warmer the weather, the more they proliferate.

“As the winter gets shorter, the ticks feel more comfortable and have a longer life cycle with less mortality,” he says.

Now, they are species that flee from extreme climates, so They also do not like excessive heat and this is the reason why they are moving further and further north.

They already arrive a month before

“The panorama that existed 50 years ago is very different from the one that exists now. Tick ​​activity starts earlier. Usually, they did not appear until spring, but now they are appearing earlier and that forces the population to take precautions earlier than usual,” says De la Fuente, who estimates that its appearance may have been advanced by approximately a month compared to a few decades ago.

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However, this situation varies from one year to another and also from one region to another, but what is clear is that, as temperatures become more benign in locations traditionally adverse for the tick, it will colonize those locations. And where it was already, it will appear sooner.

In addition, as a consequence of the change in temperatures and the greater well-being that surrounds these insects, its mortality is also reduced, which results in an increase in populations.

Now, not everything is due to global warming. “There are also biological and ecological factors. If the populations of tick host animals, such as wild boars and rabbits, increase, there will also be a greater spread of tickss, because they need them to reproduce”, says the expert.

And not just wild boars or rabbits. Also humans, “although they are an accidental host”, will help more to disperse these insects “if they interfere with their habitats”.

Ticks, of which there are several species, are present throughout Spain and “if measures are not taken to help control their populations, the problem could worsen,” says José de la Fuente.

disease carriers

The main danger consists of the diseases they transmit. Some of the best known are the Borreoliosis or Lyme disease and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever. They also transmit other pathogens that affect both humans and animals. They are not always easy to diagnose and can become chronic.

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These diseases represent few deaths per year, “but they can have very serious symptoms and leave important disorders in the person. And if the tick population increases, the number of cases will increase.”

Faced with the growing presence of these insects, the best way to prevent their bite is none other than “be well covered with clothing that covers legs and armsespecially in rural areas, as well as using repellents”, says the IREC-CSIC researcher.

And an important precaution: “If a tick is detected on a person or a dog, you have to be careful when trying to remove it, because you don’t have to break the insect, since in that case we will be injecting all its content into the body. It has to be done carefully, with tweezers, without fragmenting it”, or go to a health center.

For this expert, “it is important to have the vision that this issue cannot be solved by addressing only one of the factors” that cause its spread. Y alludes to the concept of ‘one health’ that encompasses both people and all kinds of animal speciesgiven the interconnection that exists between all living beings.

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