Ticks Are Here To Stay - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Ticks Are Here To Stay

Published July 4, 2015

Photos by
AlfriedH/Wikimedia Commons

Ticks in Iceland are likely here to stay, according to Vísir.is.

Entomologist Erling Ólafsson told Vísir that all indications point to ticks now being a more or less permanent part of Iceland’s ecosystem, saying that they have been found all over the country, apart from the highlands.

As reported, there were concerns last year that ticks were becoming endemic. Icelanders were advised by the Directorate of Health on how to safely remove ticks a person might find on themselves, and Erling adds that people can also visit The Icelandic Institute of Natural History with the tick intact, in order to help scientists with their research.

While it is true that ticks can carry Borrelia bacteria, which causes Lyme disease, there are no reported cases of anyone catching Lyme disease in Iceland. However, Icelanders have sometimes contracted the disease abroad and brought it home.

The Directorate of Health advises that, if venturing into tick-risk areas, a person should cover their skin as much as they can, using common bug repellent on exposed parts of the skin. Upon returning, it is advised to fully inspect yourself for ticks.

If a tick is found, the directorate says, the safest way to remove it is with a pair of tweezers. Taking hold of the tick just under the mouth, pull the insect straight out of the skin. Avoid grasping the tick farther up or twisting it out, as this could cause the insect to vomit into the wound it has made and spread disease. Lyme Disease is not spread if the tick is removed within 24 hours.


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