Influence of cold spring small, tick population expected to be same
This year’s exceptionally cold spring has led to speculation that the tick population could be lower this year. But as environmental factors during the main season for the insects play a much bigger role, a smaller population is unlikely, and the situation will most likely be similar to previous years.
The cold spring will not have any great influence on the number of ticks or their danger to humans, the National Institute for Health Development reported. According to Julia Geller, who runs the institute’s virology department, their number is difficult to predict.
Conclusions could be drawn after a particular season was over, and climatic conditions and other factors included only then, Geller said. “But there is no reason either to assume that the number of ticks should change drastically,” Geller told ERR on Friday.
The population depended on lots of different factors, so the fact that April had been exceptionally cold couldn’t be taken as a guarantee that there would be a smaller number. “If the living conditions of ticks are favorable—a sufficient number of host animals to feed them, the vegetation to climb in the search for sources of food and under which to hide, the right humidity and air temperature—then there are more,” Geller explained.
The danger of contracting encephalitis and Lyme’s disease hadn’t changed. Areas with increased risk were West Estonia as well as the islands. In recent years plenty of animals carrying the two diseases had also been found in Ida-Viru County, in Tartu County, and in the southern counties of Võru and Valga.
The overall situation remained more or less the same, Geller said. Vaccination against encephalitis is available, and Geller confirms that it is working. “The most reasonable way to protect yourself is vaccination, and avoiding tick bites,” she added.
Editor: Dario Cavegn