Tick bites in NL increased 30% in 10 years; New app to show risk of a bite
The number of tick bites in the Netherlands increased by about 30 percent in 10 years, according to a study by public health institute RIVM. June and July are the months in which the most tick bites occur in the country. Nature Today released a new app that shows tick activity in specific areas, and the likelihood of being bit.
The RIVM investigated tick bites in the Netherlands in 1996, 2007 and 2017. In 2017 a total of 1.5 million tick bites were registered, compared to 1.1 million in 2007 and 600 thousand in 1996. The number of people bitten by a tick increased from 6 percent of the Dutch population in 1996 to 15 percent in 2017. According to the RIVM, about 9 percent of the growth in the number of annual tick bites can be attributed to population growth.
The health institute called it striking that the number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease did not increase as much as the number of tick bites. According to the RIVM, this may have to do with the fact that Lyme disease is diagnosed and treated more quickly than 20 years ago. Not everyone bitten by a tick will get Lyme disease - there are about 27 thousand cases per year. Often the only symptom is a red blotch or ring on the skin, but around 1,500 people per year get serious symptoms like nerve, joint or heart complaints.
This week Nature Today is launching an app to show expected tick activity in an area based on weather, satellite and landscape data. The app can warn you if you enter an area with many ticks, and can also remind you to check for ticks after you visited such an area.