“I was bitten by a tick”: what to fear and how to protect

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This year, in connection with the last snowy winter, ticks will be much more active – such a forecast was made the other day by the former chief sanitary doctor of the Russian Federation, State Duma deputy Gennady Onishchenko.

"I was bitten by a tick": what to fear and how to protectAnd indeed – reports of the bitten ones are already being received from different regions of the country. The peak of tick activity in our country usually falls on May-June, so everything is just beginning.

Where ticks live

Every year about half a million Russians (the figure fluctuates with a difference of plus or minus 20%) go to various medical institutions of the country about sucking ticks. This figure from year to year can vary in the range of 10-20%. Usually the season starts in April, and by May and June, the situation reaches a peak.

This year, as noted by Onishchenko, ticks will be more active due to the high snow cover, which allowed them to winter with complete comfort.

Rospotrebnadzor of the Russian Federation has already announced the beginning of the season and named 16 regions where the situation is most intense – these are Astrakhan, Rostov, Belgorod, Voronezh, Lipetsk, Kaliningrad, Sverdlovsk, Irkutsk Regions, Khakassia, Buryatia, Tyva, Krasnoyarsk and Altai Territory. started back in January, in the southern regions of our country. The first bites were noted in the Republic of Crimea, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories.

In addition, epidemiologists recall the tense situation with tick-borne encephalitis in a number of regions (there were 48 of them at the end of April, mainly the Far East, Altai, Kamchatka Territory) and advises those who live there and those who are going there to inculcate. According to the data at the end of January 2019, 19 regions were recognized as completely endemic (Vologda, Kaliningrad, Leningrad, Novgorod regions, Sevastopol, Altai Republic and Altai Territory). Another 29 regions of the virus spread to parts of the territory.

According to “MK in Khakassia”, the first case with suspected tick-borne encephalitis was registered in the region: an unvaccinated resident of Askiz complained of tick bites. In total, as of April 15, more than 120 people were attacked by ticks in the region; at the same time, 20 thousand inhabitants are vaccinated in the republic.

“MK in Khabarovsk” reports that 36 residents of Khabarovsk complained about tick sucking – while almost all people got bites in the city. “MK in Buryatia” informs that the republic is in the list of regions where ticks are most active.

Ticks are especially active in the midst of summer work and the mushroom season; they are also found in the city, in bushes and high dry grass.

“MK in Chita” says that the areas of Transbaikalia with the highest activity of ticks are named, among them are Chita, Akshinsky, Borzinsky, Chita, Krasnochikoysky and Priargunsky districts. According to the “MK in Yaroslavl”, the Yaroslavl Mayor’s Office decided to treat the beaches from ticks – along with the territories of schools, kindergartens, additional education institutions for children, city parks.

Last year, the most cases of tick-borne encephalitis were in the Krasnoyarsk and Perm regions, Kirov, Novosibirsk, Kemerovo, Sverdlovsk, Vologda, Tyumen and Irkutsk regions.

What are the authorities doing?

Rospotrebnadzor conducts anti-tick treatment of a number of territories (it is planned to process 350 thousand hectares of land, including more than 56 thousand hectares of territories of children’s camps). Acaricidal treatments of cattle and small ruminants have been started on the territory of the Southern and North Caucasus federal districts.

1.5 billion rubles will be allocated for the purchase of tick-borne encephalitis vaccines. Since the beginning of the year, more than 1.2 million people have received vaccinations, it is planned to vaccinate more than 3 million people.

How tick-borne infections manifest

Tick-borne encephalitis. The onset of the disease is acute, with a sharp rise in body temperature to 38-39 degrees, severe headache, nausea, and vomiting. There may be muscle pain, mainly in the neck, shoulders, chest and lumbar region of the back, legs and arms. Those who are constantly in the forest are most at risk: foresters, geologists, builders, hunters, tourists.

Ixodic tick-borne borreliosis is a group of acute or chronic infections that can damage the skin, nervous system, cardiovascular system, liver, and musculoskeletal system. The incubation period ranges from 3 to 45 days (an average of 12-14 days). Most patients develop a characteristic skin lesion in the form of a migrating annular erythema at the site of suction. There are pains in muscles, joints, fever, signs of intoxication. Often the disease occurs in the lungs, erased forms. In 20-45% of patients, a form of the disease without local skin changes is observed. Diagnosis of such cases on the basis of clinical signs is almost impossible.

Human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HAC) and human monocytic ehrlichiosis (MESH). In Russia, the GACh pathogen is found almost everywhere where there are active natural foci of tick-borne encephalitis and tick-borne borreliosis. Clinical manifestations of diseases have a wide spectrum: from the asymptomatic form to the current, life-threatening, and death. As a rule, they are accompanied by a sharp rise in temperature, general malaise, damage to various organs and systems.

We get infected with Borreliosis (Lyme disease) much more often than with encephalitis, and there is no vaccination for this disease. Last year Sverdlovsk, Kirov, Moscow, Vologda, Novosibirsk regions, St. Petersburg, Perm, Primorsky and Krasnoyarsk regions suffered the most from tick-borne borreliosis. And, although mortality in borreliosis is not high, the likelihood of serious complications, including joints, heart, eyes and other organs, is high.

The disease is treatable with antibiotics if therapy is started on time. It is also encouraging that even a tick infected with Borreliosis is not always transmitting the disease to a person: much depends on how long he sucked blood. To get sick, it is necessary that he drank blood for at least 12 hours (for comparison: tick-borne encephalitis is transmitted in the first minutes of infection along with anesthetic saliva).

According to statistics from epidemiologists, on average, every fifth tick from local forests is a carrier of borreliosis (for comparison: the carrier of tick-borne encephalitis is only every 25th insect).

The good news: there is every reason to say that in recent years, the number of tick bites has decreased. In the late 1990s, for example, 10 thousand cases of tick-sucking were registered annually, and now about 2 thousand.

This year, according to Rospotrebnadzor, cases of tick-borne encephalitis have not yet been registered in the country, and cases of tick-borne borreliosis are isolated.

In addition to tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme disease, ixodic ticks are carriers of tularemia, babesiosis, monocytic ehrlichiosis, granulocytic anaplasmosis, rickettsiosis, etc. The latter is especially common in Siberia.

How ticks conquer Moscow

If in former times ticks were found mainly in forests, in recent decades they have overcome these conventions and began to actively settle within the city: in parks, squares, on boulevards. Today, green areas occupy about a third of the capital, and if you count with attached territories, the area of ​​forest and park massifs is several times. Every year during the season, which lasts approximately from May to June, up to 600-900 people complain about tick bites in the city every month.

Tick-borne encephalitis practically does not occur in the city (one case was registered last year), however, the Taldomsky and Dmitrovsky districts of the Moscow region, as well as the nearby Yaroslavl, Tver and Ivanovo regions are in the list of endemic territories. Mainly, in the capital, imported cases of tick-borne encephalitis are recorded – about ten per year.

Much more relevant for the metropolitan region is Lyme disease – the number of cases of infection is increasing every year. If in 1998 only 98 cases of borreliosis were registered in the city, in recent years their number goes beyond a few hundred.

Epidemiologists attribute this to the development of park and forest-park economy, horticulture and horticulture, tourism, economic changes, and the urbanization of focal landscapes. In this case, most citizens with Lyme disease are infected at summer cottages or in other regions, although approximately every tenth case of infection occurs in the city. For example, in Serebryany Bor, Losiny Ostrov, Saltykovsky, Khoroshevsky, forest parks, Biryulevsky dendropark, forest park No. 10 (Zelenograd), forest park zones in Troitsk, Shcherbinka, Krekshino, the village of Pervomayskoye, etc.

In addition, it is possible that people who have not visited the forest can become infected: pets, birds or people can bring bloodsucking into the house (on clothes, with flowers, branches, in baskets of mushrooms, with pets, by eating raw milk and products made from it ).

You found a tick on yourself. What to do?

As mentioned above, tick-borne encephalitis is immunized. You can be vaccinated in polyclinics, medical facilities, health centers of educational institutions after consulting a doctor.

Vaccination is carried out in several stages, and they should be completed a couple of weeks before traveling to the unfavorable territory.

If you find a tick on yourself, you should carefully remove it. Ideally, it is better to do with a doctor at a trauma station in the clinic at the place of residence or at any trauma station. If you do it yourself, the main task is to pull out the head, not leaving the proboscis, which is deeply and strongly strengthened for the entire period of suction.

To do this, grab the tick with tweezers or fingers wrapped with clean gauze as close as possible to its mouth apparatus and, holding the tick’s body strictly perpendicular to the surface of the bite, turn it around the axis and remove it from the skin. Disinfect the bite with 70% alcohol, iodine, or cologne, and wash your hands with soap and water. If, after extraction, a black dot remains on the skin, treat this place with iodine.

The extracted tick is advised to be placed on a cotton swab with an alcohol solution in a jar and taken to the study. But it is interesting that in the countries of Europe it was abandoned long ago, since it is not informative. In addition, ticks are examined for two days, which is pointless in the case of tick-borne encephalitis. Symptoms of tick-borne encephalitis develop quite quickly, but in the case of tick-borne borreliosis, you can wait a couple of weeks and donate blood for antibodies to this pathogen.

If you do not have time to be vaccinated against encephalitis, in an endemic area, seroprophylaxis should be urgently carried out – administration of human immunoglobulin against tick-borne encephalitis within 96 hours after ticks are sucked and treated to medical organizations according to indications.

How to dress for the forest

As you know, almost any disease is preventable by methods of rational prevention, and tick-borne infections are no exception. Therefore, going to the forest, try to dress in light clothes to see the tick on yourself.

It is better to fill the shirt in the pants, the ends of the pants – in socks and boots. Cover the head and neck with a kerchief. Remember that the mites do not live in the trees, but in the grass, so avoid high concentrations of grass. It is not recommended to sit down and lie down on the grass.

Parking and overnight stays in the forest should be divided into areas devoid of grass vegetation or in dry pine forests on sandy soils. For prevention, you can treat open areas of the body and clothing repellents. Periodically conduct a self-examination, and, after returning home, undress and carefully examine your body.

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