The castor bean tick bite

You do not notice the tick piercing its mouthparts into the skin. This is due to anesthetics in the saliva. Most people do not notice the sucking ticks until they accidentally spot it or feel it with their fingers. The sucking larvae are even more difficult to spot.

Usually, people are attacked by several ticks simultaneously. They are seen as the dark dots on the skin. The skin around the bite is slightly red. The diagnosis is made by removing the ticks with a needle and examining them under a microscope. It takes one day to several days before the tick starts spitting and sucking, so the sooner you discover the tick and removes it, the smaller the risk of complications.

There may be itching on and around the site of the bite after the tick has been sucking for some time. Exceptionally, tick bites have unpleasant consequences.

Local infection. Inflammation of the bite wound may occur, but if the tick is removed and if it is not. It can be in the form of dermatitis or boils that require treatment of the bite – perhaps supplemented with antibiotics. To some extent, you can prevent this by cleaning the wound with soap, alcohol, etc.

Virus infection. On the Danish islands of Bornholm and Zealand, the castor bean tick transmits tick-borne encephalitis of which there two sub-types in Denmark: The European encephalitis virus and the Far-Eastern tick-borne encephalitis virus. They can cause meningitis-like illness that particularly affects people who reside in forest areas. The disease is caused by a virus and can not be cured with antibiotics. The course of the disease is usually mild and patients fully recover. If you have to work a lot in tick infested areas, it is possible to get a vaccine against these viruses.

Spirochete infection. In Denmark, some ticks transmit a bacterium of the genus Borrelia to humans through their bites. The adult female tick infects its eggs with the bacterium. Therefore, the small larvae can also be carriers, even though they have never sucked blood. The course of the disease is very different from case to case.

One sign that you have been infected, may be an annular erythema, which appears 1-2 weeks after the bite. The bite spot is in center of the annular erythema that slowly spreads. Later, due to flu-like symptoms and pain, patients may experience paralysis of the nerves of the face and elsewhere. In the early stages, the infection is fought with conventional doses of antibiotics. If there are nervous symptoms, high doses of antibiotics are given to the patient.

If you have been bitten by a castor bean tick and have alarming symptoms which the doctor cannot (with certainty) link to any common diseases, it is important to mention that you were bitten by a castor bean tick, in order for the spirochete infection to come into consideration.

Tick paralysis. In the tick saliva there is a neurotoxin with curare-like effects. In some cases, it is released it in such large quantities that the animal or human, on which the tick is sucking, may be paralyzed. The paralysis starts in the legs and spreads upwards. The rare phenomenon is called tick paralysis. Removal of the embedded tick usually results in resolution of symptoms.