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Do ticks somehow choose a preferred host


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On 10/1/2020 at 10:33 PM, geordief said:

I've had them regularly for the past 25 years.At first I thought that Lyme's disease was only prevalent in N America  and maybe mainland Europe until a friend in England got it.

My Cliff Clavin inspired trivia:

 Otzi, the "iceman" who died 5300 years ago and found in Otzal Alps between Austria and Italy in 1991, is known to have had Lyme disease.

https://www.utoronto.ca/news/u-t-researchers-find-ancient-iceman-s-infection-helps-lyme-disease-bone-loss-discovery

 

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  • 6 months later...
On 10/2/2020 at 2:33 AM, geordief said:

I've had them regularly for the past 25 years.At first I thought that Lyme's disease was only prevalent in N America  and maybe mainland Europe until a friend in England got it.

 

So I  now  wash my hands whenever I need to remove them from different ,sometimes alarming parts of my body.

It feels like I should have built up an immunity but I don't know if that is what happens.

 

 

I understand that some folks have a natural immunity, but I am not sure you can 'build up' an immunity to Lyme disease.
It should be noted that the disease is not due to the ticks themselves, but to certain bacteria that some ticks harbour.
So in most parts of the UK your risk of Lyme disease is low even if you get several ticks.
The worst areas are South West Hampshite and South East Dorset  - The New Forest area.
Luckily (for me) they have not really spread out onto the Blackdowns.

If you do get the symptoms it is important to get the antibiotic treatment as it can develop into something much worse.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lyme-disease/

 

englandandwales.thumb.jpg.64f0c8fe9e527639b6bfa1a57cf4e338.jpg

 

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Ticks usually have specific or preferred host species and will inhabit the range of those... not because they migrate to such places, but because that is where the adult ticks successfully reproduce. Picking one specific individual host over another would be unusual - the way they find hosts doesn't really give them choice. They won't normally seek hosts by walking around on the ground but if lucky enough to find a host like that they won't pass up the opportunity. If it is the wrong host they may drop off - with or without a taste test first.

My understanding is that more usually they seek vegetation to climb, where host species pass under them or brush past. Some species have rudimentary eyes and sense movement and shadows, but it seems like it is mostly sensing odors and body heat that tells them to let go of the vegetation and try to catch a ride. As iNow noted above, they will be opportunistic.

There would be too many variables in the impromptu experiment to reach any conclusions about the apparent preference for one individual host over another.

Edited by Ken Fabian
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