In recent years, the number of Lyme disease patients has increased significantly in Hungary. At the start of the tick season, experts warn that it is worth checking ourselves regularly, since in some areas in of the country every second tick spreads the disease.
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria belonging to the genus Borrelia and is spread by ticks infected with this pathogen. With the start of the tick season, experts warn that in some areas every second tick already carries Lyme disease, and one in a thousand is also the causative agent of encephalitis. Experts also emphasize that at the start of the tick season ticks are not only present in rural/nature areas, but also in city parks, so it’s worth being careful in urban areas as well. If the tick is removed in time, the chances of getting Lyme disease are significantly reduced.
Ticks are present in very large quantities in nature, emphasized Gábor Földvári, senior researcher at the Ecological Research Center, adding that Lyme disease has a complex natural cycle: in addition to ticks being one of the main actors in spreading Lyme disease, natural hosts to the pathogen, such as blackbirds, hedgehogs, and some rodents, also contribute to the spread of the disease. It is also difficult to detect and facilitate the spread of Lyme disease, as tick bites are often painless because they pump painkillers and anticoagulants into our blood, and the disease may also remain undetected for some time.
According to experts, the first step in defending ourselves is to be aware of the danger and examine ourselves regularly. It is also important, because in 2010, the number of Lyme disease patients recorded in the country was exceptionally high, reaching a record 2,355 cases. This number dropped by almost three-quarters in the following years, with only 615 cases reported in 2014. However, the number of cases has started to rise sharply once again, with 1,610 cases reported in 2018. In addition to the reported cases of Lyme disease, It is estimated that the actual number of Lyme disease cases greatly exceeds the reported number, being in the ballpark of 20,000 each year in Hungary, while in the EU it is estimated to be around 650-800,000 and 430,000 in the United States.
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