Watch out for ticks while hiking in Switzerland

Excerpted from ( Posted: 08/24/2011) 

SWITZERLAND – Early heat in the season (June) and a heat wave in late August means one thing in Switzerland: ticks abound.

The seasonal crawlers are well known around the country as potential carriers of the bacterial Lyme disease, reports Dr Eric Masserey, canton Vaud’s public health officer in an interview in Migros Magazine.

He notes that during the past seven or eight years, ticks have also transmitted viral diseases such as encephalitis, especially in the Three-Lakes Region, and in central Valais.

A study published by the University of Neuchatel in April says changing climate conditions are making diseases carried by ticks more aggressive and resistant: “Ticks infected with bacterial pathogens survive better in hot, dry periods.”

Several insurance companies and doctors advise those living or going to at-risk areas to vaccinate against MET (meningoencephalitis caused by ticks). Immunization is covered under the basic health insurance in Switzerland; they recommend starting the three-stage treatment in winter.

If you are heading to the mountains for some hiking here are a few things you should keep in mind, say the experts:

  • use closed-toes shoes
  • stay on groomed trails and avoid tall grass and underbrush
  • apply tick repellent often
  • check yourself for ticks after hiking
  • if you find one, remove it by pulling its body, slowly, with the help of tweezers, and disinfect the area immediately
  • after removing the tick, watch for skin irritations, fever, headaches or joint pain.

Ticks can be found everywhere.

We recently hiked around the Jura, not far from Gex, in neighbouring France and found that a couple of crawlers had managed to come to Geneva via our arms and back. Fortunately, they were harmless.

For the complete article:

~ by Rob on August 24, 2011.

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