The Institute for Biocides and Medical Ecology, in cooperation with the Secretariat for Environmental Protection, is implementing a program of monitoring, estimating the number, determining the species and presence of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, within preventive measures to protect the health of the population from vector-borne infectious diseases in Belgrade.
Expert teams of the Institute for Biocides and Medical Ecology monitor ticks in sixteen Belgrade municipalities, on the areas provided for in the monitoring plan and expert forecasts of tick occurrence and activity.
Examination of the presence and distribution of different species of ticks, as well as the presence of the bacterium B. burgdorferi begins depending on climatic conditions, usually in early spring, when average daily temperatures reach a value above 5-7 ° C
Method of monitoring
Tick samples are collected by the flag – hour method, with white flags that are spread over herbaceous, bushy and woody vegetation.
Determination of species and determination of the presence of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease
The collected ticks are transported alive to the entomological laboratory of the Institute for Biocides and Medical Ecology, where the number is determined, the determination of exodus ticks is performed, as well as the analysis of the collected individuals for the presence of B bacteria. burgdorferi by microscopy of native preparations in the dark field and PCR real time method.
Monitoring results so far
The presence of three species of ticks from the sampled locations was established on the territory of Belgrade: Ixodes ricinus, Dermacentor reticulatus and Rhipicephalus sanguineus.
The highest number of these spider-like arthropods was found in Avala, Košutnjak, Lipovačka forest, Topčider and Jajinci, and the most infected individuals with the bacterium B. burgdorferi were found in Košutnjak, Topčider, Avala, and Bojčinska forest.
Recommendations for citizens
• Avoid walking, especially barefoot through tall grass, bushes, untidy green areas.
• Avoid lying on the ground or storing clothes on untidy green areas.
• Wear a wardrobe of long sleeves and long legs of lighter colors, because this way these spider-like arthropods can be more easily spotted.
• Wear closed shoes and socks.
• Repellents can be used, but they do not provide 100% protection.
• When returning from a walk in nature, it is necessary to thoroughly check the skin, especially those parts of the body where the skin is softer, ie. ticks easier to stab.
• Check pets thoroughly. In the transmission and dispersal of ticks from nature, pets can make a great contribution, so it is necessary to implement their protection.
• Adequate maintenance of backyards in personal ownership is required.
• If, despite the applied precautionary measures, a tick bite is noticed, it is necessary to contact the nearest health institution.
Protect pets from ticks
Ticks look for their hosts in tall grass and bushes, so if pets live in yards, it is necessary to regularly maintain green areas in them. Ticks also like warm and dark places, so for that reason you need a house, rugs, etc. clean and check that there are no hidden ticks in them. Maintaining hygiene significantly reduces the possibility of a tick attaching to a pet in the yard.
In addition to these preventive measures, it is necessary to protect your pet with appropriate tick protection products. There are various preparations for protecting pets from fleas and ticks, which can be in the form of collars, ampoules, powder, etc. It is best to consult with your veterinarian about choosing a product for your pet. The preparations are good, but they do not provide 100% protection and that is why it is necessary to examine your pet in detail after each walk, and if a tick gets stuck, you can take it off yourself, but again it is better for a professional – a veterinarian. there were some complications.
As a measure of prevention, it is recommended that you walk your pets on designated surfaces and avoid untidy green areas, shrubs, forest complexes, etc. where a tick is more likely to attach to them.
Citizens are not recommended to try to remove ticks on their own. Improper removal can lead to a part of the tick’s body remaining in the skin, which complicates proper removal. Be sure to contact your doctor to monitor changes at the injection site and possibly apply antibiotic therapy.
The hooked tick should not be watered with liquids, such as gasoline, oil, alcohol, etc. This procedure leads to vomiting of the intestinal contents of the tick at the site of the sting and the introduction of microorganisms into the host. This increases the risk of tick-borne infectious diseases:
Medical staff in health facilities are trained in handling and monitoring changes related to tick bites.
Timely application of antibiotic therapy is of great importance for preventing complications of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. If you still happen to remove the tick outside the health facility, it is very important that you report the tick bite to your chosen doctor.