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Tick-borne disease update

Santiago Photo Book

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
There was a thread about ticks that ended badly a while ago and I'm (please) NOT wanting to resurrect the topics that cased that argument.

But I just noticed this story in the news and think it's wise that we as pilgrims be aware of it:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/01/spain-moves-to-contain-rare-outbreak-of-fatal-tick-borne-fever
It's certainly not something to freak out about, but at the same time it's something to take seriously...

From the article.
"The 62-year-old man, who died on 25 August in Madrid’s Gregorio Marañón hospital, is thought to have contracted the fever after being bitten by a tick while walking in the countryside in the Castilla-Léon region of Spain."

Digging a little, I found that he'd been walking near Avila.
So if you're on a remote Camino (especially on the Sureste around there) and plan on bashing through the bushes, please take the same precautions as you would if you were in an area where there's' Lyme disease. Reliable information about that can be found here.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 2015
Pilgrims Way 2018
Via Francigena #1 Canterbury-Dover 2018
Thanks for bringing this to our attention. The article states that he died of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF): Although the fever is endemic to eastern Europe, it is sometimes imported by people who have picked it up while travelling in affected areas. According to the Spanish authorities, this is thought to be the first case contracted domestically in Western Europe.

So, while an extremely rare occurrence, I agree that it would be very wise to take precautions against tick bites and if bitten: What to do after a tick bite.

Many years ago I contracted Scrub Typhus from a tick bite. I was lucky to have diagnosed as it happened in an area not known for the disease at the time.
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
While ticks are unlikely to be an issue for most pilgrims, I agree that a basic awareness is a good idea (and not just for the Camino). My husband was bitten by a very small tick in Ireland last month. I was very glad that we knew how to identify and remove it.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Thanks for the stories, Meri and Nuala--they show how important it can be to be a bit vigilant. @Nuala, good thing you caught that one--the thing about ticks that's slightly unnerving is that you can easily be unaware if the small ones if they are attached to you. It's how many of us caught Lyme disease. Prevention is the key.
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
Thanks for the stories, Meri and Nuala--they show how important it can be to be a bit vigilant. @Nuala, good thing you caught that one--the thing about ticks that's slightly unnerving is that you can easily be unaware if the small ones if they are attached to you. It's how many of us caught Lyme disease. Prevention is the key.
Living near and walking on Dartmoor in the U.K. we carry a pack of "tick twisters". They are easier to use than tweezers and designed to avoid squeezing the tick's body. It is easier to check one another after walking through bracken etc., than it is to check yourself.
Most pilgrim trails are open enough to avoid ticks. The problem may arise if one leaves the trail and goes behind a bush. :oops:

Blessings
Tio Tel

Edit:- Right on cue! This article on BBC News today:-
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37252925
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
I came upon a tick removal device on a new product page of a magazine. It can be attached to a keyring. It is called a Tickkey. More information at http://tickkey.com/

Edit: As of May 2019 this product is available at REI for $6.50 (online you can order a package of 3 for a small savings). If you are ordering boots, clothing, a pack or something else from rei.com you may want to add this to the order too.

New_Tick_Key-100x171.jpg How_To_Use_Tick_Key-288x290.jpg
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
A friend recently gave us a pamphet entitled "Lyme Disease and associated tick-borne diseases: The Basics" (6th Edition, March 2013 by Douglas W. Fearn.)

A PDF copy of the latest edition (sixth edition, March 2013) in English can be gotten from here: http://www.lymepa.org/Basics_6th_edition_2013-4.pdf

A copy in Spanish of the 2009 fifth edition an be gotten from here: http://www.lymepa.org/SpanishBasics2009.pdf

Here is a short (slightly edited) description from the webpage http://www.lymepa.org/html/the_basics_-_description.html

[The pamphlet] contains essential information about Lyme and other tick-borne diseases needed by anyone beginning to learn about these infectious illnesses. It is written in a nontechnical question-and-answer format and was reviewed for accuracy by knowledgeable members of [The Lyme Disease Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania] and by several prominent Lyme-literate physicians.

The booklet addresses such concerns as; "How does one get Lyme disease?" "How does one know if s/he has it?" "What treatment may be required?" and "What are some of the varied coinfections that may also be transmitted by ticks?". Another important feature of the booklet is an excellent symptom checklist, organized around various body systems.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
@Rick of Rick and Peg - thank you so much for the TickKey tip! I have already bought a three-pack, one for me, one for my husband and one for my walking buddy. Seems a better design than the floppy tweezer card I luckily have never needed to try, but that will stay in the wallet.
I also swear by my lightweight and colourful Dirty Girl Gaiters on the camino, sprayed with insect repellant stuff for extra protection. They keep dirt and sand out of my shoes and ticks off my ankles (and brighten my day!).
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
I was 'tick-bit' in May this year on the Camino and developed Lyme's disease. I was somewhere on the Meseta a day or so before Fromista and stopped for a break by a stand of trees, a few others were there. It was hot so I lay down for a while and felt what I thought was a small spider bite, sat up and without looking brushed it off.

The bite caused a six inch across rosy inflammation which persisted. No 'head' to the centre of the bite such as with a mosquito. Two weeks later at home I had mild flu symptoms and noticed that where I had been bitten was still a sore rosy coloured area so went straight to the doc and had the two week course double dose, double strength, anti-biotics they prescribe and as far as I know it is gone now. The blood test they will take is to look for the anti-bodies that the body produces but these may not show for eight weeks or so so the doctor will prescribe anyway.

Don't forget that taking anti-biotics also destroys the beneficial flora of the gut so take lots of pro-biotics such as live yoghurt to counter that - healthy intestinal flora means a healthy body and mind - so much illness and depression from poor diet and overuse of medications destroying that good gut balance.

Catching it early usually leads to getting rid of it - not noticing it so that one later develops chronic Lyme's is a bad thing, can be terribly long-term debilitating, serious consequences.

I recognised it as I do first aid on Camino and am read up on the symptoms - though I never expected to diagnose myself!!

But here is the thing - that tiny rascal didn't have time to attach itself, just the tiny bite and I brushed it away and yet I was still infected. So - because of this it is easily missed ... here is what to watch out for.

The bite will raise a slightly rough rosy pink area - this can be a double circle or an area some five or six inches across. The tip here is that it will itch but unlike other bites where there is relief from scratching if you scratch this it will be sore instead.
If you still have that slightly sore rosy patch a couple of weeks later and develop slight flu symptoms then the chances are high that it is Lyme's - get over to the doctor straight away. Straight away!
Though - to make it more difficult some people do not develop the rosy rash/inflammation - but the bite will still be sore if scratched.

When I lay down my shirt rode up, allowing a gap between my waistband and shirt - I do not think that I will ever lie down on grass again unless fully covered!

I hope this helps - nasty disease you know.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
I was 'tick-bit' in May this year on the Camino and developed Lyme's disease.
Thank you for your story @David but you mentioned a couple of things that didn't match up with what I have learned (I live where there is a lot of Lyme disease, in fact not too terribly far from the town of Lyme itself.) I'm not saying you don't know what happened to you but the U.S. government's Center for Disease Control has a lot of data on what happens in general. Here are a couple of copy-and-pastes from the portion of the CDC website dealing with tickborne diseases

And we all agree that Lyme disease is nasty.

https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/transmission/index.html says:
Ticks can attach to any part of the human body but are often found in hard-to-see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. In most cases, the tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted.

https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/signs_symptoms/index.html says:
Erythema migrans (EM) rash:

  • Occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected persons
  • Begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days (average is about 7 days)
  • Expands gradually over a period of days reaching up to 12 inches or more (30 cm) across
  • May feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful
  • Sometimes clears as it enlarges, resulting in a target or “bull’s-eye” appearance
  • May appear on any area of the body

Last year Peg was infected with Lyme disease from a tick bite. There was no rash. However she later showed other symptoms and went to a doctor. She told the doctor about the tick bite and the doctor took a blood sample for testing (but did not then prescribe antibiotics.) That same evening we went to the emergency room because Peg showed a facial droop that may have been caused by a stroke. We told the doctors there about the possible Lyme disease. That was their conclusion and they prescribed the antibiotics (the drooping, Bell's Palsy, is also a Lyme disease symptom.) Peg's test later came in positive for Lyme. It was gotten in time enough that there have not been permanent problems.

A story: There are a lot of ticks around our woods in which to catch Lyme disease from. Staying on the trails has generally (but not always) kept me free of ticks. (By the way, they generally crawl upwards on their search for blood so besides tucking your pant legs into your socks keep your shirt tucked in too. They are easier to find on the outside of your clothes.) One time the dog and I bushwhacked off-trail for awhile before getting back on the trail. Just before the parking lot I checked myself for ticks (I had none; beats me how I lucked out there.) I then knelt on one knee in the trail to get rid of a few ticks on the dog. On the road, within a minute of getting in the car, I noticed that my pants were swarming with tick nymphs. I must have knelt on a nest of hatchlings at the trail's end.
 
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JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Camino(s) past & future
The Frances and part VF, first-aid helper and hospitalera
Hi all -

Thanks for the reminder to be vigilant about ticks, in our everyday lives as well as on camino. Ticks are a huge problem in Australia, where I live, and with summer just around the corner this reminder is very timely.

Cheers -

Jenny
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Thank you for your story @David but you mentioned a couple of things that didn't match up with what I have learned (I live where there is a lot of Lyme disease, in fact not too terribly far from the town of Lyme itself.) I'm not saying you don't know what happened to you but the U.S. government's Center for Disease Control has a lot of data on what happens in general. Here are a couple of copy-and-pastes from the portion of the CDC website dealing with tickborne diseases

And we all agree that Lyme disease is nasty.

https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/transmission/index.html says:
Ticks can attach to any part of the human body but are often found in hard-to-see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. In most cases, the tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours or more before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted.

https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/signs_symptoms/index.html says:
Erythema migrans (EM) rash:

  • Occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected persons
  • Begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days (average is about 7 days)
  • Expands gradually over a period of days reaching up to 12 inches or more (30 cm) across
  • May feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful
  • Sometimes clears as it enlarges, resulting in a target or “bull’s-eye” appearance
  • May appear on any area of the body
Hi Rick - yes, the discrepancies would seem to be because cause and symptoms are so varied. In Europe the Lyme's seem to be carried by a tiny tick and we may even have a variation or adaptation of the Lyme's you experience over there. My rash appeared next day and was slightly itchy and sore at the actual point of bite and very sore to scratch.
I was surprised, and still am, that such a brief encounter could still transfer the bacteria.
 

Penny Kingma

M.S. Can't Stop Me !
Camino(s) past & future
May 29th to July 4th 2016
SJPDP to Santiago
And many, many more I pray
Tick diseases occur everywhere. I walked the Camino Francis last summer with Multiple Sklerosis. I recently had a DNA test due to symptoms that just don't fit....I have a tick born disease called Babesia...I contracted it here at home in Ontario Canada. ???? If it's the Babesia and not Multiple Sclerosis that has been effecting me for 20 years. These things occur world wide....take precautions....but enjoy your Camino....life is just too short to question the safety of every step. I love walks in nature and will never stop ....even now.
Buen Camino
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Back on the tick issue, Deet spray up to 45% is readily available in Spanish pharmacies. It seems the most effective thing you can buy locally. In Australia we can buy Bushman's 80% Deet in a tube which I take with me as a bedbug prevention - only a small amount needs to be rubbed between the hands and the hands then rubbed on exposed skin. I find it more pleasant and less messy than spray.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
There is a vaccine available, has to be ordered well in advance and costs quite a lot (in the UK). I decided against it but my walking mate had it done.
Best way to avoid ticks, I was told by nurse, was to cover legs tightly (ie trousers tucked into socks) and avoid areas with high grasses.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
I believe that DEET is available in Canada only up to about 30%. I haven't seen it, and found this rather old article saying that higher concentrations would be stopped. However, the good news is that the lower concentrations repel insects just as well, but not as long. So, if you just need to apply it again, following the manufacturer's recommendations.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Thanks Kanga. From now on I will be coating vulnerable when out there, for certain.
 

StephenChad

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte 2014
CF 2017
Le Puy to Moissac 2018
I was bitten by ticks on the chemin du Puy in April and again last week on the GR11 linking the frances at Burguete to the aragones at Candanchu. I visited a doctor in Navarra who told me that for the first time this year she had seen cases of patients contracting rickettsia from infested ticks. She put me on antibiotics. A bad year for ticks because of the wet spring. The GR 11 is very little frequented in Navarra and vegetation encroaches on the trail.
Do all take precautions and carry a tick removal tool. In french this is called a 'tire tique', the spanish for tick is 'garrapata'
 

Penny Kingma

M.S. Can't Stop Me !
Camino(s) past & future
May 29th to July 4th 2016
SJPDP to Santiago
And many, many more I pray
I was 'tick-bit' in May this year on the Camino and developed Lyme's disease. I was somewhere on the Meseta a day or so before Fromista and stopped for a break by a stand of trees, a few others were there. It was hot so I lay down for a while and felt what I thought was a small spider bite, sat up and without looking brushed it off.

The bite caused a six inch across rosy inflammation which persisted. No 'head' to the centre of the bite such as with a mosquito. Two weeks later at home I had mild flu symptoms and noticed that where I had been bitten was still a sore rosy coloured area so went straight to the doc and had the two week course double dose, double strength, anti-biotics they prescribe and as far as I know it is gone now. The blood test they will take is to look for the anti-bodies that the body produces but these may not show for eight weeks or so so the doctor will prescribe anyway.

Don't forget that taking anti-biotics also destroys the beneficial flora of the gut so take lots of pro-biotics such as live yoghurt to counter that - healthy intestinal flora means a healthy body and mind - so much illness and depression from poor diet and overuse of medications destroying that good gut balance.

Catching it early usually leads to getting rid of it - not noticing it so that one later develops chronic Lyme's is a bad thing, can be terribly long-term debilitating, serious consequences.

I recognised it as I do first aid on Camino and am read up on the symptoms - though I never expected to diagnose myself!!

But here is the thing - that tiny rascal didn't have time to attach itself, just the tiny bite and I brushed it away and yet I was still infected. So - because of this it is easily missed ... here is what to watch out for.

The bite will raise a slightly rough rosy pink area - this can be a double circle or an area some five or six inches across. The tip here is that it will itch but unlike other bites where there is relief from scratching if you scratch this it will be sore instead.
If you still have that slightly sore rosy patch a couple of weeks later and develop slight flu symptoms then the chances are high that it is Lyme's - get over to the doctor straight away. Straight away!
Though - to make it more difficult some people do not develop the rosy rash/inflammation - but the bite will still be sore if scratched.

When I lay down my shirt rode up, allowing a gap between my waistband and shirt - I do not think that I will ever lie down on grass again unless fully covered!

I hope this helps - nasty disease you know.

Just a little side note.
I also have Lyme disease and a co Lyme disease called Babasia. YOU DO NOT NECESSARILY GET A RASH OR A BULLSEYE...Ive never had either. I walked the Camino from sjdp to Santiago in 2016. I did not get it on the Camino. I’ve had a total of 9 ticks on me in my lifetime. You could get a tick anywhere, from your backyard in a city to a hike in the woods. I’ve had two on me from my town backyard. Raccoons etc travel bringing friends with them.
Don’t be terrified of ticks on the Camino.
Like everything else be aware....be cautious....check yourselves for ticks....but it could happen anywhere Buen Camino
 

KatG

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
0
The info on the CDC site is outdated. Please educate yourself on ILADS website. The ticks on Camino carry many diseases not tested for regularly. If you get bitten SAVE the tick in between alcohol pad and get to a dr. I almost died from a tick bite. It’s not worth being ignorant or uninformed.❤
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Could you not use abbreviations please...cdc..ilads????
It takes less time to type cdc and ilads into Google and find these organisations than it takes to write a question in this thread 😊. CDC is the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Ilads is, according to Wikipedia, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, a non-profit advocacy group which advocates for greater acceptance of the controversial and unrecognized diagnosis "chronic Lyme disease".”

Also, it helps to read the whole thread and not just the first and last post 😊. There are links to relevant information on the CDC website earlier in this thread.
 
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omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Actually it's quicker to ask. Might be better to not use obscure abreviations
 

KatG

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
0
The Center for Disease Control and the Infectious Disease Society of America (Aka: CDC, and IDSA) have conflicting interests in the testing and treatment of Lyme disease as well as other tick borne diseases. As a result they neglectfully dismissed or downplayed the need for testing and treatment of these dibilitating diseases. The International Lyme Association of America (AKA: ILADS) has set new guidelines which are based on international research being done to address this diagnosis and treatment gap. The United States does not have a grip on the patient care needed to address the amount of cases occurring, obvious in the 300% case hike noted on their website. Only 1/3 of patients actually get the erythema migrains target “first sign”. The ELISA test (a first phase diagnostic test) is only accurate in 1 out of 4 people. The antiquated two tier testing misses most critically ill patients. But proper testing is expensive and the insurance in most countries doesn’t won’t cover it, not even in socialized medical settings. Thus the reason I redirected people to ILADS. They are resetting the standards and successfully giving people better options for diagnosing and treating vector borne illnesses. As others have noted, there are diseases far worse than Lyme, that most drs are unfamiliar with so if you do get sick after having walked, especially walking in grasses or forests, then consider the possibility of a tickbite. Contrary to CDC, a tick can transmit disease in under an hour and most nymphs drop off after a blood meal. On another note, prevention is best and in the US you can purchase spray for bedbugs that contains pyrethrum. Using it on your boots and hat can help create a zone of protection, and using Deet products such as “Deep Woods OFF”on your clothing and legs. MAY IS LYME AWARENESS MONTH. Thank you for allowing me to help educate pilgrims towards a healthy Camino. (Yes I read ALL the comments) happy trails!
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
(Yes I read ALL the comments) happy trails!
I know you did since you obviously reacted in particular to the post with the CDC information and links 😊. Information and awareness are very important. Since people do not only walk in Spain and France but also in other parts of Europe, what is your take on TBE? There are areas where it has become more of a concern during the last decade or so than borreliosis.
 
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KatG

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
0
I know you did since you obviously reacted in particular to the post with the CDC information and links 😊. Information and awareness are very important. Since people do not only walk in Spain and France but also in other parts of Europe, what is your take on TBE? There are areas where it has become more of a concern during the last decade or so than borreliosis.
ALL tick bites should be monitored and were I go get bitten again I would treat prophylactically. TBE May take up to 10 days to show signs. Neurological issues set in shortly thereafter and can be symptomatic with an IgM response for up to a year. Any high fever after a tickbite is SERIOUS and needs immediate medical attention!
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
The question is whether to have a vaccination or not when you walk in TBE risk areas.
 

Anna Sar

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Central, Litoral, Finisterra, Primitivo, San Salvador, di Assisi, Francis Way, Sanabres
As far as know there is no vaccine for Lyme disease. I would be the first one to get it. I also live in a tick populated area and I am almost paranoid about it. My dog has a special anti-tick collar which seems to be effective. Yet it still managed to bring four of those little $@%! back home. Four I am aware of. A comforting thought is the speed of the virus transfer though. 24 hours or more. So a thorough body check and ideally a high pressure shower should do. Worst is to let it spend a night in your arms. Terryfing thing is that not so many years ago I wouldn't even know what tick was. There were no ticks at all here.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
As far as know there is no vaccine for Lyme disease.
I’m pretty sure I was offered a vaccination before walking in ‘known’ tick areas.... It had to be ordered quite a while in advance and each shot was around £200. I seem to remember several shots were needed but can’t remember the details as in the end I decided against it. The nurse and I came to the conclusion that avoiding them was best option ie no bare leg (trousers tucked into socks) and avoid long grass areas at all cost.
 

Moorwalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Saint's Way, Cornwall

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
I recently saw a science programme here that said you should never pull ticks out...the slogan was freeze don't squeeze
Definitely do not squeeze. The Tickkey does pull though as seen in its illustration. I have not bought this product as I bought something else previously to use on my dog. This works similarly to the Tickkey in the way it slides between the skin and the tick's head but then it is twisted before the pull. This is not as handy to carry with you though.

I'm going to look into the freeze method. Thanks for passing the tip on. Unfortunately, ticks have decided to hang out in my yard this spring.
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
I carry a small mirror for self check. I also use it in big cities as a rear view mirror. Keeps the thief's honest.
 

Yumadons

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Aug 1, 2019)
Does anyone know if you can get doxycycline in Spanish farmacias for the asking or do you have to see a doctor, get a prescription, etc.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
As far as know there is no vaccine for Lyme disease.
The vaccination is a protection against TBE (FSME in German), not against Lyme disease/borreliosis. Different diseases but same tick in Europe. There is no known cure for TBE. It has become a considerable public health concern in recent years. TBE risk areas in Europe are Switzerland and southern Germany where there are popular caminos, and areas further to the East and Southeast that are less popular for camino walking.

Spain is not a risk area for TBE and as far as Lyme disease is concerned, the risk is limited, as far as I can tell from maps for current risk areas. I’m not even sure whether the Camino Francés is considered as a high risk area for Lyme. In any case, not a lot of high grass to walk through on the CF. Awareness is good, of course, but so is being realistic.
 
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Anna Sar

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Central, Litoral, Finisterra, Primitivo, San Salvador, di Assisi, Francis Way, Sanabres
The vaccination is a protection against TBE (FSME in German), not against Lyme disease/borreliosis.
Right. There is even an advert going on in our media at the moment. I will ask about it my doctor today. Better be safe than sorry. Thanks for the topic :)
 

Moorwalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
I recently saw a science programme here that said you should never pull ticks out...the slogan was freeze don't squeeze
Unless you have a handy freezer in your rucksack that's a bit difficult :) The important point is that you should not grab the tick with your fingers and pull because that squeezes the tick and can empty its contents into the bite wound. The tick removing gadgets all work in much the same way, you slide them unerneath the body of the tick and then lever the head out of your skin without squeezing the body. I don't have data available so I can't say whether freezing would be better or not, but using a tick remover is reckoned to be pretty effective.

Whatever method you use you should still be aware that there is a small risk of catching Lyme or another tick-borne disease and if you feel unwell within 2 or 3 weeks you should se a doctor and tell them that you were bitten by a tick.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
I recently saw a science programme here that said you should never pull ticks out...the slogan was freeze don't squeeze
I found an Australian webpage discussing this at

One of the things it says is:
Australian experts and ASCIA (the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy) now recommend you kill the adult tick on your skin with a freezing product such as Wart-Off Freeze or Elastoplast Cold Spray. These sprays contain ether which freezes the tick, thus immediately killing it and preventing it from injecting its saliva or regurgitating its contents into you.

But it also says:
Note that the Department of Health is not recommending this freezing method until further research becomes available.

There is a lot else on the webpage worth reading.

As for having to carry a portable freezer with you, the freezing can be done using using wart removal products. That is still more weight than you want to carry but it isn't too much to bring on picnics or car camping trips. Here is a funny video on how the freezing products work. I'm not recommending this product in particular but something similar did work for me in removing a plantar wart (sole of the foot wart):

 

KatG

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
0
The vaccination is a protection against TBE (FSME in German), not against Lyme disease/borreliosis. Different diseases but same tick in Europe. There is no known cure for TBE. It has become a considerable public health concern in recent years. TBE risk areas in Europe are Switzerland and southern Germany where there are popular caminos, and areas further to the East and Southeast that are less popular for camino walking.

Spain is not a risk area for TBE and as far as Lyme disease is concerned, the risk is limited, as far as I can tell from maps for current risk areas. I’m not even sure whether the Camino Francés is considered as a high risk area for Lyme. In any case, not a lot of high grass to walk through on the CF. Awareness is good, of course, but so is being realistic.
Spain has other tick borne disease, sand fly diseases, flea diseases
As far as know there is no vaccine for Lyme disease. I would be the first one to get it. I also live in a tick populated area and I am almost paranoid about it. My dog has a special anti-tick collar which seems to be effective. Yet it still managed to bring four of those little $@%! back home. Four I am aware of. A comforting thought is the speed of the virus transfer though. 24 hours or more. So a thorough body check and ideally a high pressure shower should do. Worst is to let it spend a night in your arms. Terryfing thing is that not so many years ago I wouldn't even know what tick was. There were no ticks at all here.
please understand the tick ONLY HAS TO BREAK YOUR SKIN to cause disease. Where folks are getting “24” hour attachment is just innaccurate
 

KatG

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
0
Unless you have a handy freezer in your rucksack that's a bit difficult :) The important point is that you should not grab the tick with your fingers and pull because that squeezes the tick and can empty its contents into the bite wound. The tick removing gadgets all work in much the same way, you slide them unerneath the body of the tick and then lever the head out of your skin without squeezing the body. I don't have data available so I can't say whether freezing would be better or not, but using a tick remover is reckoned to be pretty effective.

Whatever method you use you should still be aware that there is a small risk of catching Lyme or another tick-borne disease and if you feel unwell within 2 or 3 weeks you should se a doctor and tell them that you were bitten by a tick.
Never ever freeze!!!!
There is a vaccine for dogs but currently not for humans, although there was a human vaccine available in the 1990/early 2000s. It only worked well for the American strain of Lyme. Unfortunately it was the victim of anti-vaccine scaremongering, full explanation here.
The American vaccine for Lyme disease did not work against Lyme disease, but actually gave people Lyme disease and so they discontinued it. Known fact
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
Spain has other tick borne disease, sand fly diseases, flea diseases

please understand the tick ONLY HAS TO BREAK YOUR SKIN to cause disease. Where folks are getting “24” hour attachment is just innaccurate
The 24 hours estimate for a 10% infection rate is for contracting Lyme disease from deer ticks. The rate can be higher if the tick was previously attached to another host. Longer attachment times will increase the rate. These are just estimates and, in my opinion, probably really only useful for keeping someone who was bitten from worrying too much. Infection rates for other ticks and/or diseases will vary.

Why shouldn't the freeze method be used?
 

Moorwalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
The American vaccine for Lyme disease did not work against Lyme disease, but actually gave people Lyme disease and so they discontinued it. Known fact
No, it didn't. that was the main part of the scaremongering.
 

Moorwalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
please understand the tick ONLY HAS TO BREAK YOUR SKIN to cause disease. Where folks are getting “24” hour attachment is just innaccurate
There is a fair bit of evidence that the longer the tick is attached, the higher the risk of infection. that's because when it first bites it is mostly taking in your blood, when it gets full it is more likely to regurgitate some of its contents into the wound along with any bacteria that it is carrying. Yes, it is possible that you will be infected within moments and if you know you've been bitten you should certainly bear that in mind if you develop flu-like symptoms within a couple of weeks, but the evidence says that is highly unlikely.

You seem to be repeating an awful lot of the misunderstandings and in some cases downright incorrect stories about Lyme. Please go read some science instead of the scaremongering.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
People get freaked out about bedbugs, but they only cause itching. Ticks can potentially cause far more problems, and no-one seems to mention them much in the context of the camino.

I picked up a tick the other day on the Vasco and fortunately noticed it within hours and removed it.
So (especially ladies :oops:) do check yourself carefully in the evening if you have gone 'off piste' for any reason, in tall grass or where there's underbrush.
There's solid evidence to back up what @Moorwalker says about attachment times, so there's no need to panic if you find a tick, just take it out promptly and correctly (as people have described in posts above)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I came upon a tick removal device on a new product page of a magazine. It can be attached to a keyring. It is called a Tickkey. More information at http://tickkey.com/
View attachment 28848 View attachment 28849
Just in time — I can get one delivered before I leave! Having had a LOT of ticks on the Olvidado, and just reading that @VN got one on the Vasco where I will start, I think it is a very good idea. Once when I was alone on the Olvidado, in Cistierna, I had a tick in my back. A woman at the hotel sent me to the local health center, after she tried to remove it with tweezers and wasn’t sure she had. The doctor checked it out and gave me a prescription for antibiotics. She told me to start the medicine the second I got a fever. Luckily, none came.

I know that rainy springs increase the population, but wonder if the population increases or decreases as summer progresses.

I also want to say that this thread has a fair amount of dispute about the science-baed evidence on Lyme’s Disease or lack thereof. Unfortunately, I am unable to evaluate the dispute, but think that in the US at least, the CDC remains a reliable source. When I see “known fact” as a retort in a debate involving scientific evidence, my reaction is that I would like to see some sources to corroborate that known fact. I just did a quick search on what I know are reliable medical websites, and the consensus seemed to have been that the vaccine was almost 80% effective and was removed from the market voluntarily. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2870557/#!po=12.5000

I am not interested in monitoring this debate, nor am I capable of monitoring it for veracity and scientific backing, so please let’s focus on prevention and removal.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

Penny Kingma

M.S. Can't Stop Me !
Camino(s) past & future
May 29th to July 4th 2016
SJPDP to Santiago
And many, many more I pray
I have Lyme disease as well as a co Lyme disease Babasia and 4 other co Lyme diseases.
There is so much mis information out there....and sadly even from government agencies and websites.
So much denial
One major truth is Lyme can be contracted within 15 minutes of a tick attaching itself .
Another truth you do not always have a bulls eye rash.
Numbers infected are much higher then what governments are reporting.
I did not contract mine while on my 2016 Camino....I’ve had 9 tick bites in my lifetime.
Many individuals think they know the facts.....once you have it.....believe me you become informed of the truth and the realization of the uphill battle for treatments.
You need to check yourself daily . Two of my last tick attachments occurred in our backyard in town. Myself and my dog both had two on us the same day. We live near a wooded area...raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels etc. travel they bring and spread ticks to nonwooded or wild areas.
I’ll never stop hiking....you can’t let worries stop you....just take precautions....and check yourself carefully.
♥👣
 

Mugatu

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2018)
Camino Frances or Norte (2019 , June 27-Aug 8)
Are there any up to date statistics on the prevalence of reported tick encounters on the Camino, specifically the wide and well groomed trails that most of it encompasses. Just so individuals can have some context and react accordingly to their own concerns... I’ve scanned as far back as 2017 on this thread, and it seems far and few between.
 
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akaboland

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
The French way Oct 19
There was a thread about ticks that ended badly a while ago and I'm (please) NOT wanting to resurrect the topics that cased that argument.

But I just noticed this story in the news and think it's wise that we as pilgrims be aware of it:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/01/spain-moves-to-contain-rare-outbreak-of-fatal-tick-borne-fever
It's certainly not something to freak out about, but at the same time it's something to take seriously...

From the article.
"The 62-year-old man, who died on 25 August in Madrid’s Gregorio Marañón hospital, is thought to have contracted the fever after being bitten by a tick while walking in the countryside in the Castilla-Léon region of Spain."

Digging a little, I found that he'd been walking near Avila.
So if you're on a remote Camino (especially on the Sureste around there) and plan on bashing through the bushes, please take the same precautions as you would if you were in an area where there's' Lyme disease. Reliable information about that can be found here.
Are ticks around all year long or are they seasonal, I’m travel on 28th September for a week starting in Sarria.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Are there any up to date statistics on the prevalence of reported tick encounters on the Camino, specifically the wide and well groomed trails that most of it encompasses. Just so individuals can have some context and react accordingly to their own concerns... I’ve scanned as far back as 2017 on this thread, and it seems far and few between.
You are probably quite right that the wide crushed rock Camino in Galicia offers little danger of ticks. I have had quite a few over the past years — on the Olvidado and on the Invierno primarily. Which is why I splurged and bought myself a few of those tick keys. :) People on the Salvador recently reported a bunch, though I have walked that route several times and never had any. I think it depends in part on the amount of rain — the rainier the spring, the bigger the tick population?

I don’t know of any statistics, but I can tell you that when I went for medical assistance on the Olvidado, the doctor told me that there were a lot of ticks in that area.
 

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