How to distinguish an encephalitis tick from an ordinary one: types of insects, external signs,

How to distinguish an encephalitis tick from a normal one
How to distinguish an encephalitis tick from a normal one

Glad to welcome you to my blog! You know, we have stereotypes in any field. If a large mosquito is malaria, if it is a tick, then something must be screwed about encephalitis.

However, not every tick is a carrier of encephalitis. Of course, you shouldn’t fully rely on this: it’s better to imagine how to distinguish an encephalitis tick from an ordinary one. That is what I want to talk about in my material today. All details are below.

How to distinguish an encephalitis tick from an ordinary parasite

It is not so simple to distinguish an encephalitis tick from a common one, however, the solution to this problem becomes critically important if the bite occurred in an epidemiologically disadvantaged region.

Indeed, if the parasite is encephalitis, then with some probability it could transmit to the person the causative agent of tick-borne encephalitis and, possibly, at the end of the incubation period, the patient will develop a disease with all its formidable symptoms.

Given the mortal danger of this disease, it becomes necessary to undergo a course of emergency prevention as soon as possible.

And this is difficult, expensive, long, and taking into account the realities of the work of domestic medical institutions, it is also not very pleasant (hardly anyone likes the queues in polyclinics).

If a person is bitten by an uninfected tick, then no complex actions are required. It is enough to properly remove it from the skin and disinfect the wound.

This is much easier than preventing encephalitis, and certainly safer than treating this disease. So how do you determine if the tick that you managed to extract from the skin is encephalitis or not? Let's get it right.

Is it possible by external signs to find out that the parasite is a carrier of tick-borne encephalitis virus

Just in appearance, it is impossible to distinguish an encephalitis tick from one that is not a vector of infection. The presence of the virus in the body of the parasite does not manifest itself externally - neither in the form of the body, nor in color, nor in behavior. Infected ticks have no obvious signs of infection.

If an encephalitis tick and an ordinary tick are placed next to each other, both of which will belong to the same species and will be at the same stage of development, then no external differences between them can be found.

Moreover, even a magnifying glass or a microscope will not help to do this, that is, it will not work to distinguish such individuals at home.

In other words, it’s not easy to find out whether the tick is encephalitis in nature.This cannot be done even by an expert acarologist who is well able to determine the types of ticks and distinguish them from each other.

The very concept of “encephalitis tick” indicates precisely the infection of a specific individual with the tick-borne encephalitis virus. Many untrained people mistakenly believe that an encephalitis tick is a certain species, all of which are carriers of infection, in contrast to another, “simple” tick, whose bite is harmless to humans.

In fact, the established tick-borne encephalitis carriers are 14 species of ixodid ticks that are quite similar to each other in appearance, but also have certain features of appearance and color, which make it possible to distinguish them from each other and from other species that do not tolerate the causative agent of the disease.

Of these 14 species, the main carriers of infection that infect humans, in the vast majority of cases, are two:

  • Dog tick (aka European forest tick);
  • and not much different from the Taiga tick.

The first is responsible for cases of encephalitis in the countries of Western Europe, in Ukraine, Belarus and in the west of Russia (for example, in the Kaliningrad region), the second - in Siberia and the Far East.

This means that a specific species - an encephalitis tick - does not exist. There are several species, various morphologically and ecologically, that the virus can carry. On the other hand, not even the most malicious virus carriers are contagious.

According to statistics, only about 6% of individuals of those species that carry encephalitis are infected. That is, for 15 individuals representing these species, which actually belong to the “encephalitic” cohort, only one individual will actually represent an epidemiological danger.

Moreover, according to the same statistics, only 2 to 6% of bitten people become infected after being bitten by infected ticks without taking appropriate measures.

Therefore, in those regions where there is a risk of infection with tick-borne encephalitis, out of 10 thousand bites, a maximum of 24 will lead to the development of the disease.

According to statistics collected in hospitals, the average incidence of tick-borne encephalitis among all bitten and seeking help people is approximately 0.50-0.55% (about 5 people per 1000 bitten).

Given the number of people who do not go to the doctor after a bite, this indicator is actually even lower - approximately the same 0.2-0.3% (20-30 infected per 10,000 bites).

For tick-borne borreliosis, this indicator is 1.5 times higher - about 1.3% for people officially registered when going to the hospital.

This, in turn, means that even a tick bite that is definitely a carrier of the virus will not necessarily lead to infection.

The main conclusion can be made: by external signs, one can never say whether a tick is infected or not, and even more so it will not be possible to immediately understand whether a parasite has infected a person with a bite.

The same is true for cases when the parasite is removed from the pet - according to external signs, it will not work to understand whether the infectious tick has bitten a dog or cat.

Nevertheless, by the appearance of a bloodsucker, it is possible to determine the probability (not a fact, but precisely a chance) that it is encephalitis. To do this, you need:

  1. Assess the region in which the bite occurred;
  2. Understand that the parasite belongs to the family of ixodid ticks;
  3. If possible, determine whether he belongs to the dyad of the main carriers - this is either a dog or a taiga tick.

Simply put, if it was possible to determine that an ixodid tick bit a person in an area that is epidemically dangerous for tick-borne encephalitis, then the likelihood of infection is no longer zero.

If, upon examination of the parasite, it was possible to recognize a dog or taiga tick in it, then the likelihood of infection is even higher. Next, we will consider by what signs it is possible to recognize a possible tick-borne encephalitis carrier ...

Differences between species of tick-borne encephalitis from related species

The first task in determining the type of tick in our case is to understand that it belongs to the ixodid tick family.

They have a fairly characteristic appearance with a flattened body from the back and a very small head. Ticks from other families differ from Ixodidae in body shape.

Encephalitis is transmitted only by ixodid ticks. If in a region with high epidemiological danger it was this type of parasite that bit it, then it is likely that it could infect a person with a virus.

Even more chances to get infected with a bite if either a taiga or a dog tick was removed from the body. Outwardly, they are very similar to each other.

It is practically impossible for a non-specialist to distinguish them, since the reliable differences between them are too insignificant - these are the structural features of the proboscis and body shield. But to distinguish between these species does not make sense: both of them with the same probability can be carriers of infection.

In the European region people are mainly affected by a dog tick, beyond the Urals - by a taiga tick. For this reason, the dog tick is also called European forest, and taiga - Siberian.

You can distinguish representatives of these two species from relatives in the ixodid tick family by color: taiga and dog ticks in adulthood have a clearly visible black or dark green shield and a brown body. When saturated, their body increases in size several times and becomes light gray.

You must also be able to distinguish ticks from some blood-sucking insects. In particular, in the forest and taiga zones with ixodids, you can easily confuse bloodsucker flies, the most common and famous of which are bloodsucker deer (it is also called a moose tick).

These flies attack various large animals and humans, and tend to climb into their hair and move between them.

Bloodsuckers chase their prey in flight, but clinging to wool or skin, they drop their wings and begin to suck blood - such a wingless individual is easily confused with a tick.

The main thing: bloodsuckers do not tolerate encephalitis and generally do not infect a person with any infections. In view of the foregoing, in the case of a tick bite, it is only possible with a certain probability to assume whether it can be infected with a virus or not. But to find out exactly, completely different research methods will be required ...

The only way to find out if the tick is encephalitis or not

Surely you can find out that a tick that has bitten a person is infected with the tick-borne encephalitis virus, only by the results of a special laboratory study. The essence of this study is simple:

  • A bitten person saves the parasite in any way (preferably alive - so the analysis can be carried out within a few days after the bite), put it in an empty bottle, a matchbox or even in a plastic bag, and take it to the laboratory;
  • In the laboratory, using special microbiological methods (mainly an ELISA test, less often a PCR analysis), certain tissues of the parasite are examined and the presence of tick-borne encephalitis pathogen in them;
  • If the pathogen is detected - conclude that the tick is contagious. If the pathogen is not detected, respectively, the parasite is recognized as not infected.

Such studies are very effective. It is very easy to detect viral RNA in tick tissues using affordable and inexpensive methods. Such analyzes are carried out in a few hours and give a result with a high degree of accuracy. They also make it possible to determine whether a person needs emergency prevention of the disease.

According to a study conducted in the clinics of Irkutsk, the prevention of tick-borne encephalitis in reality requires only 12% of people affected by bites, regardless of how many parasites have bitten a particular person.

It is clear that the risk of infection will be higher for a hunter or tourist, from whom several dozen ticks that have been eaten were removed, than for a person who was resting in the park and having removed one just sucked parasite. These figures show that not every bitten person needs urgent measures.

It should be remembered that even if the bloodsucker is contagious, the probability of developing a disease in a person bitten by him without taking any measures is about 2-6%.

That is, even after a positive test result of a tick in a laboratory, it is not at all necessary that the disease will develop. Nevertheless, the risk of its development is a sufficient reason for taking emergency measures.

How and where to take a tick for analysis

In regions with a high epidemiological risk of tick-borne encephalitis, analysis of ticks taken for infection is carried out in most laboratories in clinics and hospitals.

The method of emergency research of ticks was initially tested in Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk and Yaroslavl, and when it showed good results, it was put into constant practice in most cities of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

To conduct the analysis itself or find out where you can carry the tick for research, you can in the following institutions (available by phone):

  1. In any clinic or hospital (and in rural areas - in the first-aid post or at the local GP);
  2. In any emergency room;
  3. In the nearest branch of the Sanitary and Epidemiological Station;
  4. In private laboratories and diagnostic rooms;
  5. In the centers of Rospotrebnadzor.

In case of a bite, just call any of these facilities and find out where to go. They will either say the address of the laboratory or its telephone number by telephone.

If the victim cannot independently remove the tick or is afraid to do it, then the doctor in the clinic will be able to carry out all the necessary manipulations and will pass the parasite himself for analysis.

The cost of analyzing a tick for encephalitis ranges from 300 to 700 rubles, depending on the region and the prestige of the clinic (laboratory).

A separate analysis of the parasite on the causative agent of Lyme disease will cost about the same amount, and a comprehensive study on both pathogens costs less than two separate analyzes.

The quality and accuracy of the analyzes are the same in both state and private laboratories. The advantage of state institutions is the lower cost of analysis, but in private clinics there is less queue, and the whole procedure is more comfortable and faster.

A tick for analysis should be brought as quickly as possible. If he is alive, then he can be injured when removed from the skin, which will lead to his immediate death.

A dead parasite can be examined for no more than 3 days after death, so if it was killed during removal, it must be taken to the laboratory immediately. If the tick is alive, it must be put in a sealed container and delivered to it for analysis.

The urgency in this case is due to the fact that, with a confirmed tick infection, emergency prevention should be started in the first 2-3 days after the bite.

Only when carried out during these periods, it will provide the desired result and with a high probability will prevent the development of infection.

If during this time it was not possible to deliver the parasite for verification, then you can no longer fuss: it does not matter whether it is infected or not, the deadlines have already been missed (however, you still need to try to conduct the study).

Discussion is the question of whether it is worth conducting a comprehensive analysis of the parasite for tick-borne encephalitis and borreliosis.

The main danger of tick-borne encephalitis is the complexity of its treatment and the absence of highly effective antiviral agents.

This is due to the high incidence of disability and death in the event of illness. Lime borreliosis is easier and more successfully treated due to the fact that its pathogen is sensitive to antibiotics.

Therefore, if tick-borne encephalitis is easier and safer to prevent before the development of the disease, and for this it is worthwhile to conduct a tick analysis and emergency prevention, then borreliosis with timely diagnosis is easier to cure.

Moreover, the likelihood of contracting it with a bite is also low. In general, in this matter it is better to follow the instructions of a specialist who knows the epidemiological situation in the area.

If he considers that the likelihood of contracting Lyme disease is high, he will advise you to take a comprehensive analysis. If such an analysis, in his opinion, is not appropriate, then he will not recommend it.

If the removed tick turned out to be infected with tick-borne encephalitis virus, then the victim needs the introduction of immunoglobulin as a measure of emergency prevention of the development of the disease. Consultation on further actions will be given by a doctor in the institution in which the study was conducted.

What to do if it was not possible to analyze the infection of the parasite

A situation is possible where it was not possible to deliver the tick for analysis to the laboratory. Therefore, it is impossible to understand whether it is contagious, or is ordinary.

This can happen on a camping trip (it is unlikely that anyone would think of removing a group from the route in Altai if one of the participants was bitten by a tick), on a long hunting trip, on an expedition.

Finally, the bitten can live in a very remote village, from where it is extremely difficult to quickly deliver the parasite for analysis.

This also includes the situation when the tick simply did not have time to deliver for examination within 2-3 days after the bite. What to do in such cases?

Firstly, it is no longer necessary to take the tick for analysis. Even the understanding that he was infected with tick-borne encephalitis virus or borrelia will not be the basis for urgent measures: the terms of emergency prevention have already been missed, and it is not advisable to start treatment without the presence of symptoms of the disease.

Secondly, there is no need to carry out emergency prophylaxis of tick-borne encephalitis at all costs. If in 2-3 days it was not possible to bring the parasite to the hospital, then for sure the immunoglobulin could not be delivered at the same time. There is no sense in introducing it later, since it will not have a pronounced effect.

Thirdly, you need to carefully monitor the condition of the victim. If there are clear symptoms of either encephalitis or borreliosis, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Signs of tick-borne encephalitis after a bite develop at different times - depending on the subtype of the virus, usually from 3 to 14 days.

The first symptoms of the disease are fever, pain in the head and muscles, chills, nausea. If they appear, you must immediately deliver the victim to the hospital.

When infected with the Far Eastern subtype of the virus, both phases merge, the general symptoms are more pronounced, the disease proceeds very rapidly.

When borreliosis is infected, a fever develops in the acute phase of the disease, and erythema migrans may appear - annular redness around the site of the bite.

Similarly, if these symptoms appear, consult a doctor as soon as possible. If antibiotics are started on time, then the disease is likely to be cured safely.

You can also take blood tests for antibodies to tick-borne encephalitis virus or lime borreliosis. An analysis of immunoglobulins for TBE virus is given in 2-3 weeks after the bite, and for borreliosis in 3-4 weeks.

Previously, it is pointless to take them, because even with infection, the antibody titer will not have time to grow to those values ​​that will be a sign of infection.

Even if the first antibody test failed, a month later it is useful to repeat it. The dynamics of changes in antibody titer and their composition will be an important sign of infection. If both tests for each infection are negative, then you can calmly take a breath: the infection did not occur.

When you don’t have to worry about tick infection at all

Finally, there are situations in which you can not worry about the infection of the tick at all. For example, it makes no sense to bother about determining the infectivity of a parasite if it is bitten in a region where encephalitis is either not recorded, or isolated cases of the disease were known.

So, in most of the territory of Ukraine and in the southern regions of the Russian Federation, many mothers go crazy with fear when they find a tick on a child, although in fact the probability of contracting EC is not excluded, but is so small that no special measures are required. Almost certainly the tick here will not be encephalitis and will not infect the victim with a virus.

Further, when traveling to a region with an increased risk of tick-borne encephalitis infection, an anti-encephalitis vaccine is an elementary safety measure.

It ensures that after a bite, even with an infected parasite, a person will not get sick. If the vaccine is given, then it is not necessary to find out whether the tick is contagious or not. But to go to such a region without vaccination and then walk through the forest is unreasonable.

If the tick has not yet been bitten, but simply found on the body or on clothing, just swipe it away. Without a bite, the virus is not transmitted through the skin, and it is impossible to get infected simply from a parasite crawling over the skin.

Finally, there is no need to worry if, after a walk in nature, a bite was found on the body, but it is not clear who left it.

Most likely, this is not a tick, because it sucks blood for a long time - from several hours to several days, and if a bite is detected, it is with a sucking parasite.

Be that as it may, in each case after a tick bite, it is most correct to find the opportunity to contact a doctor (preferably an infectious disease specialist) and consult with him.

He will definitely be able to say how to be in a particular situation, where and when to seek help. Follow its recommendations is much more reasonable and safer than independently determine the infection of the tick and draw some conclusions.

How to distinguish an encephalitis tick from an ordinary tick in different ways

Ticks are the oldest invertebrates with a primitive structure. Science knows more than 25 thousand of their species. These close relatives of spiders and scorpions live in water and soil, parasitize on plants and animals.

In Aristotle's History of Animals, Aristotle also mentioned ticks parasitizing on dogs. Ticks infected with encephalitis can do the most harm to a person.

Encephalitis Tick Overview

Ticks transmitting encephalitis are common in the forests of Eurasia. Of one hundred ticks, six are infected with tick-borne encephalitis virus. In infected individuals, the pathogen multiplies in tissues and organs, is present in the salivary glands.

By adhering to its victim, the parasite passes the virus through the wound along with saliva, and if its dose is sufficient, then the disease can develop. The infection is also transmitted during an attack by males when, due to the short duration of the bite, it goes unnoticed.

Having clung to a person, a tick can crawl over his body for about two hours before he finds a place to which he sticks.

The places of suction often become parts of the body hidden under clothing, skin folds, the occipital part of the head covered with hair, armpits, and places behind the ears.

How to distinguish an encephalitis tick from a regular (simple)

Despite the fact that the term "encephalitis tick" is used by doctors in the course of biology, it is not used in biology. Science distinguishes a family of ixodid ticks (about 700 species), which often carry the encephalitis virus and are dangerous to humans.

At the same time, in the middle zone of our country, only two species of ixodid ticks can transmit it: taiga and European forest, which is also called canine.

True, there is another species transmitting a dangerous infection, this will be discussed below. A dog tick, like a taiga, bites both dogs and people.

Why exactly these species infect a person with an infection is still unknown.It is believed that in Siberia the virus existed long before it was populated by people, although this hypothesis has not yet been scientifically proven.

Ixodid ticks are the largest among all ticks. Almost all representatives of this family have dimensions equal to several millimeters, and individual individuals even several tens of millimeters. So, the size of the pumped blood of females can reach 2.5-3 cm.

It is possible to establish reliably the fact of tick infection with encephalitis only by laboratory means, although, knowing the external distinctive features of ixodid ticks, it is more likely to assume that it can be infectious, and therefore take measures to prevent the possible development of the disease. So, we will consider these features.

By external signs

Since the taiga and dog ticks belong to the same family, they are similar in shape and size - about 3-5 mm in adults.

Taiga ticks have a brighter color: their abdominal part is bright orange or dark red in color, but they differ slightly in shape, mostly only with wider spaced legs.

Dog tick does not look so catchy. The abdominal part of males can be of various shades of gray. His limbs are shorter, and they are located closer to the body. Females usually have a black shell, while it covers only the front of the back.

Very rarely, another species of ixodid ticks that lives in the Crimea and the South Caucasus attacks a person. It differs from other varieties by the rectangular base of the proboscis and the back shield framed by peculiar scallops.

Thus, it can be assumed that you have a potential vector of encephalitis by the following signs:

  • bright orange, dark red or, conversely, gray color of the abdominal part;
  • black carapace covering only the front of the back (indicates that we are facing a female dog tick);
  • the rectangular base of the proboscis and the festoon frame of the dorsal shield (characterizes ticks that mainly live in the Crimea and Transcaucasia and rarely attack people).

In the laboratory

It is possible to determine unequivocally whether a tick is a virus carrier or not, only in a laboratory setting, having carried out special laboratory tests.

In almost all cities where there is a risk of infection with tick-borne encephalitis, it is possible to pass the tick for analysis (at the same time, the tick can be checked for other common infections characteristic of the region).

If possible, it is better to take the tick to the laboratory alive, intact, placing it in an airtight container and putting a rag or cloth moistened with water inside.

When you can not worry about tick infection

You can not worry much about whether the tick is infected with encephalitis or not, if the area in which the tick bit you does not belong to areas endemic to this disease.

However, every year the situation changes, ticks migrate, which means that you can be sure of the tick’s purity only by giving it to a special analysis for experts.

Ticks carrying the encephalitis virus are especially dangerous for humans, and there are two ways to find out if there is a risk of getting infected, and whether to worry if you bite, visually inspect the bloodsucker or trust specialists and determine by laboratory means or absence of infection in the tissues and fluids of the parasite.

How to distinguish an encephalitis tick from a normal one

As the summer months draw near, it is important to know what the encephalitis tick looks like, because its bites lead to the development of dangerous diseases, and the more information those at risk have, the better they can prepare to meet this parasite.

Of course, just like that, without additional research, to find out if this bloodsucker is a dangerous encephalitis tick will not work. It must be taken to the appropriate laboratory.But something still needs to be remembered.

What does the bite site look like?

If the tick has already stuck into a person or animal, then it is very difficult to recognize it. Firstly, this parasite does not like exposed areas of the body.

He finds more comfortable shelters on his back, in the groin or under his armpits. In this case, only the central part of the proboscis penetrates into the body, but even so, it is very difficult to unhook the parasite.

How to understand whether an encephalitis tick has bitten or not? If the parasite has already dug into the human body and began to drink blood, it has significantly increased in size - studies have shown that it is about 100 times, so the tick is easy to notice with the naked eye.

At this time, the parasite resembles a gray bean kernel with legs and proboscis. While he was still not pumping enough blood, only the abdomen of the parasite protrudes above the surface of the skin.

It looks like a black dot surrounded by a white ring. By the way, at this stage, an ordinary tick looks about the same.

Now, if after removing it, the wound begins to swell greatly, if ulcers appear there, this is already a serious symptom that can indicate that an infection with an encephalitis tick has occurred.

In the meantime, regardless of the type of tick, a slight allergic reaction occurs on the skin, the wound becomes slightly inflamed and reddens.

If this lesion is clearly visible, the tick must be carefully removed. The sooner this is done, the better, although the virus could still get into the blood anyway.

Folk recipes are advised to lubricate the wound with oil or kerosene. But this is not the best option. Of course, this will kill the tick, but when pulling out its body can break, and then it will even be useless to carry it to the laboratory, they will not be able to determine anything there either.

It is best to remove the tick with a disinfected needle or pin, and the bite should be washed with an antiseptic - chlorhexidine or a drug based on it.

Siberia and the Far East are considered the habitat of the encephalitis tick, but nevertheless, any parasite must be carried to the laboratory for research, especially if a person does not have an vaccine against encephalitis. Sometimes it can save a life - in the truest sense of the word.

Encephalitis Tick Information

Although doctors use the term "encephalitis ticks", in reality there is no such parasite species in biology, there are so-called ixodid ticks, and some of them can infect a person with encephalitis virus.

How to distinguish an ixodid tick from other species? The body of this parasite resembles a single oval sac, less often a disk-shaped one.

It has a streamlined appearance and differs in some flatness (if the bloodsucker is hungry). The legs and proboscis are articulated with the body.

Mites differ in this from other arachnid species, since in those insects the body is folded from the abdomen and cephalothorax.

True, the proboscis of an insect in everyday life is usually called the head, but from a scientific point of view this is wrong, since the proboscis is exclusively a mouth apparatus, and the tick’s brain is in the center of the body.

The body of the parasite is covered with a chitinous skeleton; it protects its damage quite reliably. The color of the chitinous layer can vary from light yellow to very dark brown.

According to this shade, it is possible to determine a specific species with a high degree of accuracy. Moreover, those species that are found in the tropics are distinguished by bright colors.

In adults, there are four pairs of legs equipped with suction cups. Such their structure helps the insect to move along the horizontal and vertical plane.

The front part of the legs has a structure that helps to cling tightly to the skin of a person or pet: it has spikes and teeth.

You cannot see them with the naked eye. However, this is practically no different from a regular tick, therefore it is better to focus on coloring.

What is the difference between taiga and Siberian tick

Such a dangerous disease as tick-borne encephalitis, in our latitudes only two types of ixodid ticks can transmit. This is a taiga tick and a dog tick.

But this is not an axiom. It also happens that you can get infected from other types of ticks, just such cases are very rare. A dog tick, despite its name, bites not only dogs, but also people. This also applies to the taiga tick.

Why exactly these species infect humans with encephalitis is still unknown. It is believed that in the same Siberia the virus generally existed long before the first people appeared there, although this hypothesis has not yet been proved.

Why can an ordinary ixodid tick carry this dangerous disease? The fact is that he can drink the blood of any infected animal, and then he himself will be infected with the encephalitis virus, and he will also be transmitted to his offspring.

And this applies to both males and females. Ticks do not live long, but you can be sure that this virus will always remain with infected individuals and will be transmitted further from animals and humans.

Since the taiga and dog ticks belong to the same family, they are similar to each other both in shape and size - about 3-5 mm in adults.

But at the larval stage, it is difficult to notice the parasite, since its body does not exceed 0.5 mm in length. However, even then this parasite can be considered dangerous. There are still some differences between the described varieties.

The taiga tick has a brighter color. Its abdominal part is bright orange or dark red. In shape, it differs slightly, mostly only with wider spaced legs.

Dog tick does not look so "smart". Its abdominal part is gray, sometimes it is darker, sometimes lighter. His limbs are shorter, and they are located closer to the body.

But all this applies only to males. Females usually have a black shell, and it covers only the front of the back. The abdomen has great elasticity - this is what allows it to stretch when the tick drinks a lot of blood.

By the way, difficulties in determining the tick are also associated with the behavior of males and females. Usually the male quickly drinks blood and leaves the body of his master.

But the female should take a long time to prepare for childbirth, so she can live on the host’s body for at least several days, and sometimes a week.

Very rarely, mites of the Haemaphysalis family attack a person. Having become infected from a sick animal, they can carry the encephalitis virus.

This variety of parasites lives in the Crimea and the Caucasus, loves broad-leaved and aspen forests. They differ from other varieties in the rectangular base of the proboscis and the back plate framed by peculiar scallops.

Where encephalitis ticks are common

The habitat of these blood-sucking parasites is quite wide, they are found throughout Europe and Russia. There are also in East Asia.

Moreover, these bites

x parasites threaten not only the inhabitants of the plains, but also those who live in the mountains. Ticks are found both in the forest-steppe and in the forest.

Much depends on specific conditions, but in general, the largest number of cases of tick-borne encephalitis infection in Russia is recorded in Siberia and the Far East.

Thus, the endemic areas for these ticks include territories of many countries, including the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Belarus, Norway, Austria and Sweden.

But in Australia and South America there are no such parasites. But there are very toxic species that cause tick-borne paralysis, so staying in nature without appropriate safety measures can be even more fatal.

Since even a short bite is enough for a dangerous virus to enter the bloodstream, residents of these countries need to follow preventive measures, going not only to a country picnic, but also to a city park, since so far no methods of control have given the desired result.

In particular, it is recommended to wear long-sleeved clothing and pants, not shorts, even in summer. Avoid areas where tall grass and shrubs grow - a dog tick loves such places.

Additional signs

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to see a tick bite, since external signs can be invisible.Moreover, the virus, getting into the wound from a bite, develops rather slowly.

In the first 7-10 days after infection, it may not cause any discomfort at all. However, in people with weakened immune systems, signs of infection may appear earlier, 2-4 days after the bite.

The most common symptoms include:

  1. a sharp increase in temperature to 39 ° C (and sometimes even higher), fever;
  2. body aches and flu-like malaise;
  3. weakness;
  4. vomiting
  5. headaches and dizziness.

At the same time, high temperature and fever usually coincide in time with the stage of active development of the virus. In total, it can last up to 10 days.

If the disease is limited to this, then we can say that it was a mild form of encephalitis, but the victim will receive a very stable immunity to the virus. Although in some cases, fever can turn into a form of a chronic disease.

It also happens that after the fever subsides, remission begins, which lasts about a week. It seems to a person that he is already completely healthy.

But after a short period, the disease returns and the virus passes through the blood-brain barrier. Because of this, damage to the nervous system occurs, and encephalitis goes into a severe (meningeal) stage.

At the same time, those internal organs in which the virus develops quite actively suffer. This stage of the disease is accompanied by photophobia and stiff neck.

This means that the neck muscles become stiff, it is difficult for the patient to tilt his head to his chest. In some cases, brain tissue is affected and hallucinations occur.

It is very important to prevent this and consult a doctor on time. Diagnosis is all the more important because these symptoms themselves can be signs of completely different viral diseases or CNS pathologies.

Therefore, the doctor, examining the clinical picture, must make sure that there was a tick bite, collect information about which regions the patient visited (an encephalitis tick is not found everywhere). The tick itself can be investigated only if the patient managed to remove it without damage.

If this is possible, it is better to immediately contact a physician immediately after a bite so that they can also take out the parasite. Only after a comprehensive examination is a diagnosis made and appropriate treatment prescribed.

Tick-borne Encephalitis

This parasite causes a very serious infectious disease that can affect a person. Encephalitis ticks can bite both a child and an adult, as a result of the development of signs and symptoms that need to be stopped as quickly as possible.

Strong intoxication of the central nervous system begins, the virus makes its way into the brain, spinal cord, causing intoxication. If treatment is not started on time, then pathology can lead to complete paralysis or death.

What is tick-borne encephalitis

This disease is a natural focal disease, occurs only in certain areas. Mite carriers are wild animals, the most dangerous foci of pathology are in the following territories:

  • Far East;
  • China;
  • Kaliningrad region;
  • Ural;
  • Mongolia;
  • Some parts of Eastern Europe and the Scandinavian Peninsula.

Encephalitis pathology is a viral disease that is transmitted when a person is bitten by a tick. Outbreaks of disease are associated with visits to people of natural foci of infection, season and activity of parasites.

This disease affects the brain, spinal cord and leads to paralysis or even death without timely and adequate treatment. Pathology has other names:

  1. Russian Far Eastern;
  2. spring-summer;
  3. taiga.

The causative agent of tick-borne encephalitis

The cause of the development of the pathology is arbovirus from the genus of flaviviruses. Tick-borne encephalitis virus is very small, 2 times smaller than the flu virus, so it is very easy to overcome human immune defenses.

The causative agent of encephalitis is unstable to UV radiation, heat or disinfection (dies in 3 minutes when boiled). Able to maintain its viability for a long time at low temperatures.

The virus lives, as a rule, in the body of encephalitis ixodid ticks, the parasite affects not only humans, it can bite any livestock.

This indicates 2 possible variants of infection with pathology: through a tick bite or alimentary (fecal-oral route). There are 4 main causes of tick infection:

  • After a bite through insect saliva.
  • In the presence of wounds or scratches, the pathogen penetrates the skin by contact with the feces of the tick.
  • When trying to extract the parasite, it can burst, then the virus also enters the victim's body.
  • The causative agent is found in unpasteurized milk of an animal affected by a tick.

How to distinguish an encephalitis tick from a normal one

Two types of ixodid ticks can transmit encephalitis - canine and taiga. These are the main carriers of infection, but in rare cases, infection can occur from other representatives of this group of insects that live in potentially dangerous geographical areas.

Taiga and dog ticks are similar to each other, but there are some differences that help distinguish them from other similar insects:

  1. The body of the tick has a size of 3 to 5 mm.
  2. The shell of the females is hard and black, covering only the front of the back. The abdomen is not covered by a shield, the cuticle has good elastic properties, which helps the tick to drink more blood (sometimes it exceeds its own weight by tens of times).
  3. The color of the taiga tick is brighter, the abdomen is bright orange, sometimes dark red, the limbs are apart and wide.
  4. The color of the dog tick is less bright, the abdomen is light gray or dark gray in color, has short limbs and is close to the body.

Incubation period

This is the time during which the virus after reaching the body reaches the required mass in order for the first symptoms to appear.

Pathogenic microflora begins to actively manifest itself in 1-2 weeks, if through milk - 3-7 days. For a sick person, it is very important to undergo a diagnosis during this period and begin the optimal course of treatment.

The most effective way to prevent the disease is vaccination. Encephalitis develops in several stages, which differ in their symptoms.

Symptoms after a tick bite in humans

In rare cases, a person begins fulminant tick-borne encephalitis, which already in a day causes manifestations of pathology.

Signs of a tick bite usually appear after 7-20 days, sometimes after 30. During the latent period, the virus continues to multiply directly at the site of the tick bite, then, penetrating the blood, spreads throughout the body. With any form of encephalitis in adults, the symptoms appear the same:

  • muscle aches;
  • rapid increase in body temperature up to 40 degrees, chills;
  • lumbar, headaches;
  • photophobia and pain in the eyes;
  • lethargy amid lethargy;
  • cramps, vomiting, and nausea;
  • tongue coating;
  • rapid breathing, rare pulse;
  • redness of the skin on the face and to the clavicles.

If the infection has managed to penetrate the meninges, obvious signs of damage to the nervous system may appear: muscles weaken, cramps, skin goes numb, “goose bumps” often run through the body.

In children, the symptoms after a tick attack are exactly the same, but there is one difference - in children, the disease develops faster and is more complicated. In children, convulsive seizures occur much more often against the background of high temperature.

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1 Comment

  1. Informative. Last spring there were so many ticks in the garden. The dog was examined every day, and 2-3 were found every day. the smallest. They also found it at home. What's happened? Invasion? We were very worried that encephalitis can also get in, now we know.that there is an incubation period.

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