A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement


Buy any book, get free camino shell

Tick-borne disease update

Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#1
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/2...ntain-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.
 
Last edited:

Wokabaut_Meri

merely labeled
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPdP - Santiago (April/May 2015)
#2
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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, Inglés, Fisterra/Muxia, Baztanés x2, Primitivo, Norte, Portugués & hopefully many more.
#3
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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#4
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
#5
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
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#10
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
Yes please!
#11
@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!).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#12
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
#13
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.
 
Last edited:

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Camino(s) past & future
The Frances from Pamplona and part VF, first-aid helper and hospitalera
#14
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
 
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#15
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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 29th to July 4th 2016
SJPDP to Santiago
And many, many more I pray
#16
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.
#20
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
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#21
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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#22
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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte 2014
CF 2017
Le Puy to Moissac 2018
#24
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'
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 29th to July 4th 2016
SJPDP to Santiago
And many, many more I pray
#25
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
 
Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
alansykes Medical issues on the pilgrimage 43

OLDER threads on this topic




A few items available from the Camino Forum Store




Advertisement

Booking.com

Most read today

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 9 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 4 0.5%
  • March

    Votes: 35 4.6%
  • April

    Votes: 112 14.6%
  • May

    Votes: 188 24.5%
  • June

    Votes: 54 7.0%
  • July

    Votes: 15 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 12 1.6%
  • September

    Votes: 229 29.9%
  • October

    Votes: 93 12.1%
  • November

    Votes: 11 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.7%
Top