Newly migrated ticks track their prey over long distances

Newly migrated ticks track their prey over long distances

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Dramatic high tick activity and increase in tropical ticks

In recent years it has been shown that the tick season starts earlier and earlier due to the mild weather. The crawling animals can be expected again soon. The arachnids can transmit various infectious diseases. A newly immigrated tick species worries, which can track its prey over several hundred meters.

Spring is approaching - and with it the tick season. Because with the first warm rays of the sun, these arachnids are increasingly looking for food again. They can transmit dangerous diseases to humans or animals, especially so-called early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE).

The number of TBE diseases has decreased

Like tick expert Prof. Dr. Ute Mackenstedt from the University of Hohenheim said in a message that 2019 was a year with high tick activity, but the number of TBE diseases is clear in Baden-Württemberg, but only decreased slightly in Bavaria.

“After 607 cases of TBE diseases were reported in 2018, the number in 2019 is 462, i.e. 145 fewer cases. And the results show that Baden-Württemberg in particular is responsible for the general decline in Germany. ”

The majority of people infected with TBE (approx. 70 to 95 percent) remain symptom-free or there is no second phase of illness, explains the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) on its portal "".

Illness can be fatal

According to the experts, signs of a TBE disease typically appear in two phases:

First of all, flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches and a general feeling of illness appear. The tick bite is often forgotten at this point and the symptoms are misinterpreted as a cold. The disease is now over for the majority of those affected.

Some of the patients develop inflammation of the meninges and the brain after about a week (meningoencephalitis). Inflammation of the spinal cord can also occur. Symptoms include renewed fever, nausea and vomiting, and nervous system failures. Severe courses can be accompanied by paralysis of the arms and legs, swallowing and speech disorders, respiratory paralysis and severe sleepiness.

As a result, paralysis, headaches, less resilience and changes in mood can persist for several months. Healing without consequences is still possible late. However, permanent damage can also occur. About 1 in 100 people with nervous system infections die from the infection.

There is no causal treatment for early summer meningoencephalitis. But vaccines against TBE are available.

Hyalomma recognizes warm-blooded animals at distances of up to ten meters

In 2018, experts warned not only of the dramatically high tick activity, but also of an increase in tropical ticks in Germany, which are actually at home in Africa, Asia and southern Europe: species of the tick species Hyalomma.

"What makes Hyalomma special is its hunting behavior," says Prof. Ute Mackenstedt. "Unlike our domestic ticks like the common wooden goat, it does not climb up on grass or bushes and can be wiped off by wild animals or hikers," explains the scientist.

"Hyalomma actively hunts its prey, recognizes warm-blooded animals at distances of up to 10 meters and can track them over several 100 meters."

Another specialty, according to the expert, are the diseases that Hyalomma transmits and which also differ from our native species.

"In its actual distribution area, Hyalomma is known to transmit the causative agent of the so-called Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, the Arabic hemorrhagic fever and a form of the tick-spot fever (Rickettsia)."

Brown dog tick feels comfortable in apartments

Also in the focus of the experts: the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus).

"Like Hyalomma, the brown dog tick is also an invasive species that is native to many parts of the tropics and subtropics alongside the Mediterranean and North Africa," explains Prof. Mackenstedt.

“She loves a warm and dry climate, which is why she feels so comfortable in our apartments. Especially when there is a dog nearby. ”(Ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • University of Hohenheim: According to the highest TBE in 2018: number of illnesses decreased - despite high tick activity, (access: February 16, 2020), University of Hohenheim
  • Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA): TBE, (accessed: 16.02.2020),

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