Tick season is coming: Most bites in Drenthe and Gelderland
People are at the greatest relative risk of being bitten by a tick in Drenthe. The insects strike mostly in June and July. In adults, they often bite the legs, while children usually experience bites on the head and neck. This is reported by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), on the tenth anniversary of the Tick Radar.
Ticks bite animals and people so they can suck their blood as food. People are at risk of contracting Lyme disease if a biting tick carries Borrelia bacteria. This occurs in about 27,000 people every year. In most cases, Lyme disappears after treatment with antibiotics and they recover completely.
However, some continue to struggle with complaints for a long time. Lyme disease can be recognized by a red ring or a red spot around the site of the bite. It can develop up to three months after the bite.
To keep an eye on tick bites and Lyme disease, RIVM and the University of Wageningen launched the Tick Radar in 2012. About 80,000 bites have now been registered through the institute. Most reports came from Gelderland, Noord-Brabant and Noord-Holland, but those provinces also have large numbers of inhabitants. Taking into account inhabitant numbers, most reports come from Drenthe and Gelderland, and the least from Zuid-Holland.
About half of all reports are made in June and July, and the other half in the other ten months of the year. The RIVM is now going to conduct more accurate research through the Tick Radar to determine the chance of tick bites per week. The institute will warn people in those weeks to check themselves extra carefully.
About one in five people get several bites at the same time, according to the RIVM. "If you find a tick on your body, check the rest of your body extra carefully," the institute advises. The chance that people will contract Lyme disease after a bite is about two percent. That risk is halved if people remove the tick quickly.
Reporting by ANP