Deadly Virus-Carrying Tick Spreads in Europe

Thu 9th May, 2024

Image by Erik Karits from PixabayIn Spain, the emergence of a tropical tick originating from Africa, and now spreading in Europe due to global climate shifts, has led to a severe case of disease. A man in Salamanca contracted Crimean-Congo fever following a tick bite, necessitating hospitalization. Identified as Hyalomma marginatum, this tick species has sporadically established itself in Austria as well.

Emergence of a New Tick Threat in Europe The Hyalomma tick, notably larger than indigenous species, serves as the primary vector for the Crimean-Congo virus, which induces hemorrhagic fever. Additionally, this insect can transmit typhus caused by rickettsiae. While Crimean-Congo fever traditionally occurs in Africa, the Middle East, parts of Asia, and the Balkans, recent studies, including those by the Austrian Health and Nursing Association (ÖGKJ), reveal the presence of these perilous viruses in tick populations in Spain and France, as reported by

Symptoms and Risks Crimean-Congo fever presents symptoms such as high fever, muscle pain, dizziness, light sensitivity, abdominal distress, diarrhea, vomiting, and in severe instances, bleeding. Its mortality rate ranges from five to thirty percent. Conversely, typhus, transmitted by the same tick variant, manifests as fever, headaches, a rash, and a localized area of skin necrosis, known as Eschar, at the bite site.

Dr. Kerbl, head of the Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine Department at LKH Hochsteiermark in Leoben, acknowledges the concerning situation in Spain and the tick presence in Austria. However, he reassures that the risk of encountering this large tick species in Austria remains low compared to native ticks like the common wood tick. Nonetheless, Dr. Kerbl underscores the importance of considering the potential impact of climate change on tick distribution, urging vigilance amidst evolving environmental conditions.

Image by Erik Karits from Pixabay


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