Consequence of climate change: more and more diseases caused by tick bites

In the last twelve years, significantly more people have become ill after a tick bite than before.

Consequence of climate change: more and more diseases caused by tick bites

In the last twelve years, significantly more people have become ill after a tick bite than before. Researchers attribute this to longer and drier summers. Every seventh person has already been infected with the tick-borne disease Lyme disease.

According to a study, the number of cases of tick-borne diseases has doubled in the last twelve years. This increase is due to longer and drier summers due to climate change, animal migration and "increasing contact with pets," according to research published in the journal BMJ Global Health. Farmers and other people who regularly interact with tick host animals such as dogs and sheep are particularly at risk.

According to the study, around one in seven people worldwide has already been infected with the tick-borne disease Lyme disease. Central Europe has the highest infection rate at 20 percent. According to this, 14.5 percent of people worldwide have antibodies against the Lyme disease pathogen in their blood, a sign of a previous infection.

Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium that is transmitted through tick bites. Those infected often develop a skin rash and experience flu-like symptoms, including muscle and joint pain, headache, nausea and vomiting. The disease can be fatal in rare cases.

The numbers of the so-called meta-study are based on an evaluation of more than 4000 studies. The researchers pooled data from 89 eligible studies. These included a total of 160,000 participants. After Central Europe, the regions with the highest levels of antibodies are East Asia with 15.9 percent, Western Europe with 13.5 percent and Eastern Europe with 10.4 percent. The Caribbean has the lowest rate at just two percent. The researchers cautioned that the numbers could be skewed by more regular testing in regions where the disease is more common overall.

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