Brown dog tick spreads

Imported dog tick species nestles in homes and can also be used by people

Originally native to the Mediterranean, the brown dog tick, here a female and a male, is increasingly spreading in Germany. © Daktaridudu / CC-by-sa 3.0
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Dog owners beware: In Germany, a new species of dog ticks spreads. The brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) is originally native to the Mediterranean, but is increasingly found in our home and can be a plague in the home. Once introduced by the dog, the ticks nest in cracks and crevices, multiply and can then infect humans. Researchers therefore ask the population to report finds of the brown dog tick.

With the milder climate, more and more non-native mosquito and tick species are coming to us. For example, the Asian bush mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito have already established themselves here, and recently the first specimens of Aedes koreicus, a third tropical mosquito species, were discovered in Hesse. In addition to these flying bloodsuckers, the imported tropical tick Hyalomma is increasingly spreading in Germany. The problem: All these newcomers can transmit dangerous diseases.

Dog Ticks seek refuge in our apartments

Now biologists announce another introduced tick species. The brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) is native to the Mediterranean and North Africa. Meanwhile, however, there is increasing evidence that this species of ticks spreads even with us. Often this tick is brought in by tourists or their dogs. "However, specimens have also been found on dogs that have never left their farm - an indication that the species may already have gained a foothold here, " says Ute Mackenstedt from the University of Hohenheim.

The brown dog tick often nests unnoticed in the homes of dog owners. "Unlike our common wood buck, the brown dog tick can survive very well in apartments, " explains Mackenstedt's colleague Katrin Fachet. There, the tick hides after its blood meal in cracks and crevices and can lay up to 4, 000 eggs. "Within a few months you will quickly have several 100, 000 ticks in the apartment, " says Fachet.

Potential transmitter of diseases

Although the brown dog tick usually almost exclusively dogs. "If the population is too large and the host is no longer enough, then it is not voters and looks for the next best thing: the human being, " explain the researchers. Thus, this tick can also be a danger to humans. Although the bloodsucker transmits so far neither FSME nor the Lyme disease pathogens. display

However, dog bites can transmit other dangerous diseases when biting. Especially threatening to the dogs is the babesiosis, also called dog malaria, which, if left untreated, can lead to the death of the dog within a few days. In contrast, Mediterranean spotted fever, which is caused by bacteria of the species Rickettsia conorii, is dangerous for humans. Also pathogens of the genus Bartonelle can cause fever flares, as the researchers explain.

What to do in case of suspicion?

"If you suspect that your household has an infection with the brown dog ticks, you should contact an expert on this type, who can advise you on how to proceed, " recommends Fachet. "If the wrong measures are taken on one's own initiative, it can lead to a considerable aggravation of the infestation with greatly increased health risks for humans and animals."

The scientists also ask that they be reported suspected cases of brown dog tick, so they can better grasp their distribution. "We want to take care of the affected cases - from the beginning to the end of the infestation. Therefore, if you frequently notice an unusual number of brown ticks in a building, or if your dog is severely infested with ticks that look similar to the brown dog tick, then please send an e-mail. Mail with image of the tick to "

Source: University of Hohenheim

- Nadja Podbregar