The tick with striped legs proliferates in the south of France, according to the daily “Midi Libre”. It can transmit a deadly virus to humans: Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever. How to recognize it and protect yourself from it?
In scientific language, this little beast is called “Hyalomma marginatum”, which means “tick with striped legs”. It can measure up to two centimetres when it is engorged with blood, moves quickly on the ground and is potentially a carrier of the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, which can be fatal for humans.
The “Hyalomma marginatum” would have already been spotted at the limit of the Pyrénées-Orientales and Corbières, on the borders of Hérault and Gard, south of Ardèche, north of Gard, between the Rhône valley and the Cévennes foothills or in the Var, reports Midi Libre, which relays an alert from the Center for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD) in Montpellier. This latest survey since 2017 on the presence of the species in the Mediterranean regions of France.
To date, the disease has not been detected in France, but Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever has already killed two people in Spain in 2016. In Turkey, the disease causes an average of ten deaths a year. “It is possible that this tick entered France with horses or cattle because Camargue breeders trade a lot of animals with their Spanish counterparts. Horses also move around a lot for competitions, ” says Frédéric Stachurski in the local daily newspaper.
Unlike other ticks that wait for their potential victim by positioning themselves at the top of a twig, the “striped-legged tick” can follow its target for ten minutes, or even more, over a distance of sometimes 100 meters, according to the Center. European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CEPCM).
To protect themselves, the latter suggests the measures usually recommended to protect against these mites, such as wearing long clothes or using specialized repellents, while stressing that they are “less effective” against ticks on the legs. striped than against its smaller and more widespread cousins on the continent.