Giant Hyalomma tick spotted again in Netherlands

Size comparison of Hyalomania ticks (above) to common sheep ticks (below)
Size comparison of Hyalomania ticks (above) to common sheep ticks (below)Photo: Zati Vatansever, Kafkas University

A Hyalomma tick, commonly referred to as a giant tick, was found in Wageningen. This is the third specimen of this type of tick, which can carry dangerous diseases like Crimean Congo virus and Spotted Fever, to be found in the Netherlands this year. The other sightings were in Drenthe and in the Achterhoek in July.

This latest giant tick was found on a pony in Wageningen, according to Omroep Gelderland. It was previously thought that the Netherlands is too cold for the giant tick to grow into adulthood, but due to climate change, the conditions in the Netherlands are increasingly favorable for the animal. It is believed that this type of tick enters the Netherlands through migratory birds. 

The Hyalomma tick is known as the giant tick because it is much larger than a normal tick . It can be recognized by the line pattern on its legs. Unlike other ticks that passively wait for a host to pass by, this type of tick actively hunts its host, according to the European center for disease control. They've been known to follow a host for 10 minutes or more, covering a distance of up to 100 meters. 

This type of tick is a known carrier of the Crimean-Congo virus, which causes Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever. This is a serious disease that has a fatality rate of up to 50 percent, according to the American center for disease control. The tick found in Drenthe earlier this year was tested for this virus and was not a carrier, public health institute RIVM said at the time.

The Drenthe tick was a carrier of the Rickettsia aeschlimannii bacterium, which causes the rare spotted fever. "Spotted fever is easy to diagnose and treat with antibiotics," Dutch health agency RIVM said in a statement released over the summer.

Several Dutch agencies track sightings of the tick. Those who have seen the Hyalomma tick should report it to the NVWA, the agency said.

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