The African giant mite, Hyalomma marginatum, is slowly but surely spreading in Austria, which, among other things, is favored by the mild weather. It can transmit life-threatening diseases such as Crimean-Congan fever.
A constant mild winter favors ticks. While the tick season used to last from about March to the end of October, now the arachnids are active year-round. Ticks are carriers of diseases such as Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis (TE).
Mild temperatures favor the spread of the giant tick
Migratory species such as Hyalomma ticks, which live in North Africa, Southern Europe and regions of Asia, are increasingly wintering in our latitudes due to the lack of frost.
In Austria, Hyalomma marginatum was first discovered in October 2018 by specialists of the Vienna University of Veterinary Medicine (Vetmed) in the area of Melk (Lower Austria). In 2019, Georg Schauerer from the Vetmed Institute of Parasitology showed that a sample of a recently relocated subtropical tick species had already overwintered in Austria. The researcher was able to prove this in April 2019 in a private farm in the Braun district of Inn (Upper Austria).
The giant tick stalks its victims and can transmit deadly fevers
The Hyalomma mite is not only much larger than the forest mite, but also moves towards the host at a relatively high speed. And she is a potential carrier of the dangerous Crimean-Congo fever virus. Infection with this virus causes a disease that often takes the form of hemorrhagic fever and can be fatal.