Monday, April 7, 2014 - 12:01
Record number of ticks found in NL
Ticks were caught in record numbers by volunteers in The Netherlands last year, at least 16,500. This means that tick bites increased as well, and with that, the risk of catching Lyme disease. Volunteers have been catching ticks at determined locations in nature areas throughout The Netherlands for six years. Last year, the catch was 64 percent higher than the average of the last six years. At all locations, ticks were found that carried the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which can lead to Lyme disease. Analysis from Tekenradar.nl reveals that one in five ticks found carry the disease. "And because we followed the participants for a long time, we could determine that 2 percent of people who are bitten also effectively catch Lyme disease", Tekenradar says. It is not just in The Netherlands that ticks seem to be growing in number. In Belgium, tick-population has been measured for ten years. "We have been catching ticks for ten years in two nature areas near Bokrijk", says Maxime Madder, expert from the institute of Tropical Medicine. According to Belgian scientist Valierie Obsomer (UCL), people in Belgium are under-estimating the amount of ticks and tick bites. Official figures list at least a thousand cases of Lyme disease every year. "But those figures are almost certainly an under-estimation. In The Netherlands they count 22,000 cases per year, and they have the same habitat, the same overflow of ticks, the same pathogens and therefore also the same number of cases", Obsomer says.