Spain: Paul Scully discusses amber list
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The dangerous ticks can be picked up in a number of locations across Spain, including popular tourist traps such as beaches and even swimming pools. Health experts are urging local people and visitors to “remain alert” and be aware of the dangers.
Not only can ticks cause serve irritation, in some cases the bugs can be potentially deadly.
In recent years, reports of the creatures have sky-rocketed across Spain.
The National Association of Environmental Health Companies (ANECPLA) warns up to 20 species of ticks have been detected, some of which can transmit serious illnesses such as Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever which has a 30 percent mortality rate if not treated, Lyme disease and viral encephalitis.
“We are calling for extreme precautions and control of ticks,” said a spokesperson.
“The tick population in Spain does not stop increasing, a growth due to the progressive increase in temperatures, which causes these parasites to be active for more months.
“They live especially in the field, in areas with vegetation and animals but also in parks, gardens, swimming pools and even on the beach.”
ANECPLA says vets and doctors from all over Spain have been reporting a massive increase in the number of tick-related cases in their practices.
General director of ANECPLA, Milagros Fernández de Lezeta warned: “Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is endemic to Africa. Until 2013, our country was free from this disease.
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“However, that year the first case was diagnosed in Spain and, since then, up to nine affected people have been counted, three of whom died for this reason as a result of a tick bite.”
The association says it is imperative that urgent action is taken by individual health authorities, local councils and people themselves.
“It is important that citizens are aware of the risks that may arise,” the general director warns.
“This summer, the risk is not only in the countryside but in an environment that we frequent so much now on our vacations [including by] the beach or the pool.
“We have to remain equally alert.”
The health experts advise people to cover up as much as possible in areas where ticks are suspected and show as little bare flesh as possible.
If they find one in their skin, they should remove it carefully and keep it for later analysis.
The ticks can also embed themselves in dogs so they too should be checked after walks because the insects don’t cause obvious itching or irritation.
ANECPLA says pest experts must look at individual regions and prepare specific plans of action.
Symptoms of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever begin suddenly, in the form of fever, muscle pain, dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, lumbago, headache, eye irritation and photophobia (hypersensitivity to light).
It can also cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and a sore throat at first, followed by sudden mood swings and confusion.
After two to four days, sufferers can become drowsy, depressed and weak.
Other possible clinical signs are a soaring heart rate and swollen lymph nodes.
“The mortality rate associated with this disease is approximately 30 percent, and the death ensues during the second week,” states the association.
“Among patients who recover, the improvement generally begins on the ninth or tenth day after the onset of the disease.”
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.
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