For a long time, the climate in Germany was too cold for Hyalomma ticks, but in recent years the giant ticks have been increasingly sighted here. The animals, which come from warm regions of Asia and Africa, can find their way to us via migratory birds, for example.

An invasion of Hyalomma ticks involves a risk because the giant ticks are considered very dangerous.

Hyalomma ticks can grow up to two centimeters in size and have striped legs – our native ticks have brown or black legs and are only 2.5 to 4.5 millimeters long. Hyalomma ticks are also very fast and literally pursue their victims. With their very good eyesight, they can discover a host and actively attack it.

The bite of a Hyalomma tick is noticeable by a reddened area on the skin. Various symptoms can appear after a bite from the giant tick.

Two diseases are transmitted by Hyalomma ticks: typhus and Crimean-Congo fever. While the latter has not yet been detected in Germany, there have already been isolated cases of typhus.

Typhus begins with severe aching limbs and headaches. Those affected feel very ill, have chills and a high fever. A rash also appears about four to seven days after the onset of the illness and appears on the trunk, arms and legs, although the palms of the hands and feet usually remain free of skin irritations.

Crimean-Congo fever is the most dangerous tick bite virus in the world. Patients also suffer from high fever, headaches, body aches and a skin rash. Other symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and fatal bleeding.

If you suspect that you have been bitten by a giant tick and have symptoms of typhus or Crimean-Congo fever, you should seek medical attention.