Where can I find ticks?

In Hungary, Ixodes ricinus is the predominant tick species, which is the most abundant in forests and other areas with dense undergrowth and shrubs.

In addition, it is already present in urban environments, especially in small to large areas of continuous vegetation, such as parks and gardens of family houses. 

The number of tick is increased mainly from April to June and in September.

hr-pharma szeged lyme kór kullancs
Forests and fields are hotbeds for ticks, we should protect against them

What diseases do ticks transmit?

In Hungary, the two most important human diseases are tick-borne viral meningitis and Lyme disease, both spread by the bite of an infected tick.

In the vast majority of cases, tick-borne viral encephalitis is asymptomatic or has mild, non-specific symptoms, followed by complete recovery. However, one in five patients develops central nervous system inflammation, which requires hospitalization. There is no specific therapy; however, infection can be prevented by vaccination.

The most characteristic clinical symptom of Lyme disease, which occurs in 60-80% of cases, is redness/erythema (erythema migrans), which usually appears after a 7-10 day incubation period at the site of the bite. The skin lesion always starts as a small round patch, spreading to the edges and fading in the middle to form a ring. The skin phenomenon may be accompanied by non-specific and neurological symptoms. In very rare cases, patients who are untreated or inadequately treated may develop neurological, musculoskeletal or cardiac complications, which can be prevented by an appropriate course of antibiotics.

How can Lyme disease be diagnosed?

The disease can usually be diagnosed with a high degree of certainty on the basis of characteristic skin symptoms (associated with flu-like symptoms) and the presence of tick bites.

The doctor may prescribe an antibody test from a blood sample to confirm the diagnosis, and the antibody response usually develops slowly (3-6 weeks).

hr-pharma szeged lyme kór kullancs
Lyme disease can be detected by laboratory tests

Is there any other prevention options?

If you are in a tick-prone area in the garden or woods, it is advisable to wear closed shoes, light-coloured clothing and use tick repellent cream.

Clothing and exposed skin should be checked regularly and ticks should be removed immediately.

Pets may also have ticks; thus, they should be checked regularly.

hr-pharma szeged lyme kór kullancs
Pets should also be checked regularly

How to remove the tick?

The first and most important task is to remove the tick carefully as soon as possible. Medical help is not necessary to remove the tick. The best tool for removal is a tick removal spoon or (available from a pharmacy and to keep at home/carry with you on trip), which can be used to grasp the tick by the part of the tick closest to the skin without squeezing the back of its body.

hr-pharma labor kullancs lyme-kór

It is important not to twist the tick’s abdomen that has burrowed into the skin with any tool, as this may cause the tick to excrete its entire intestinal contents into the bloodstream. Do not use any other home remedies, such as smearing the tick with oil or grease, as this will also cause it to regurgitate the half-digested blood and thus the pathogens. Once the tick has been removed, disinfect the wound, note the location/time of the tick bite and monitor the bite site for 1-2 weeks. If the head is bitten off when the tick is removed, do not be alarmed, the bitten head is not infected and will be expelled from the body within a few days.

Source: National Public Health Centre (in Hungarian: Nemzeti Népegészségügyi Központ)