Not all ticks can cause the disease but we explain where Lyme is most common and how to prevent bites.
A third of people in France have been bitten by a tick and this figure is rising, despite increased awareness campaigns on the dangers of Lyme disease (around 15% of ticks in France carry Lyme).
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by infected ticks, but not all ticks are carriers. The chance of catching Lyme disease depends on the tick species, where it came from and how long it was biting you.
New figures from health body Santé publique France (SPF), published on February 22, show that the number of people who have been bitten, and the number who feel they may have been at risk of being bitten by ticks, is on the rise.
This comes in the context of reinforced information campaigns on the dangers of tick bites which have been launched since 2016. The increase in the number of bites being spotted could either show that people are now more aware of the signs to look out for or that bites really are becoming more common.
SPF conducted its latest health report by comparing barometers from 2016 and 2019, each done via a telephone survey of a nationally-representative sample of people in France aged 18-85.
The figures show that in 2019, 30% of people said they had been bitten by a tick in their life, and 6% had been so over the past 12 months. This is a 25% and 4% rise respectively compared to 2016.
And in 2019, 25% of the population said they generally felt exposed to tick bites, compared to 23% in 2016.
There has also been a slight rise in the number of people reporting tick bites over the past 12 months, figures from 2016-2019 show.
SPF also noted that there has been a rise in the number of reports of Lyme over the past few years, which is “partly” linked to “increased awareness of the population”, SPF said.
Awareness of the disease has risen especially in areas most at risk, it said, largely as a result of educational campaigns.
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