Ticks – A rising health threat in Spain

Male and Female Hyalomma ticks.

Male and Female Hyalomma ticks. Credit: © Daktaridudu Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Garrapatas as they are known in Spain can be passed from animals to humans and they can cause some serious diseases. Common illnesses associated with tick bites include Lyme disease and encephalitis.

Those at risk of tick bites are people that walk in rural areas, especially during the spring. The problem is that the number of ticks appears to be rising.

Jorge Galvan, the general director of the National Association of Environmental Health Companies (Anecpla) says some of the increase is down to climate change because of the increase in temperatures.

The warmer weather is increasing the tick’s reproductive period and so they are producing more ticks, more often in a greater space of time.

This year (2023) the weather has favoured a species of ticks that don’t require humidity to reproduce.

In Spain, there are five types of ticks and two of them are of particular concern These are the genus Hyalomma and genus Ixodes which can cause Borrelia bacteria (Lyme disease) and tick-borne encephalitis.

At the Association, they want people to be aware when walking through grassland, but they point out that each government administration should be working towards controlling the tick population by looking after grassland and rural areas where people like to walk.

Jorge Galvan recommends that people walking their dogs should have their pets treated to avoid the parasite. And, when they have finished their walk people should check their bodies for any signs of ticks. The places a tick like to attach itself are around the groin area, the head, the back of the ears, elbows and knees.

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Written by

Julia Cameron

Julia is an ex-pat writer from Brighton living in a small village close to the Andalucian town of Priego de Cordoba. When she's not working she enjoys reading, tracing her ancestry and swimming. She especially loves the summer when she can get down to the coast and chill on the beach.