Some tick species can transmit viruses, bacteria or parasites to animals and humans. In France, the main human disease associated with ticks is Lyme disease. In the event of infection, a characteristic red "bull's eye" appears on the skin a few days after the bite, usually around the bite area, and spreads outwards in a circular pattern. Without treatment, the disease can cause skin, muscle, neurological and joint disorders that are sometimes highly disabling.
Certain precautions can be taken to avoid this risk:
- use repellents, opting for those with marketing authorisation and complying with their conditions of use (all this information is given on the product's label, packaging and/or leaflet);
- wear closed shoes and clothing that covers the body; light colours will help you more easily identify any ticks on the surface of the fabric;
- avoid walking through long grass, bushes and low branches and keep to signposted paths;
- inspect your body when returning from walks;
- if you are bitten, remove the attached ticks immediately using a tick remover, fine tweezers or, failing that, your fingernails. Never use ether or any other similar product, and disinfect the wound;
- monitor the bite area for several days and see your doctor if symptoms develop.
A quarter of tick bites occur in gardens
Although tick bites are usually associated with walks in woods and forests, this risk also exists in gardens, where 25% of tick bites occur. These data come from the Signalement Tique app, which was developed by INRAE and the Permanent centre for initiatives on the environment (CPIE) in Nancy-Champenoux, as part of the CiTIQUE participatory research programme, of which ANSES is a partner.
Volunteers needed for a tick hunt near Nancy
In order to determine the characteristics of the gardens most likely to harbour ticks, the CiTIQUE programme partners launched the TIQUoJARDIN project in 2021. A second tick collection campaign is being organised from 1 May to 10 July 2022 in a 30 km area around Nancy. If you would like to take part, please visit the project website.