Russian Siberia has been rocked by an invasion of blood-sucking ticks that experts said included a new and deadly “mutant” variety. The scale of the swarm left some hospitals – already stretched with rising coronavirus cases and deaths – without vaccines and medicine. It has left some hospitals unable to cope with the onslaught of the mutant ticks. In the Krasnoyarsk region, there are 428 times more ticks than usual – sparking fears of Lyme disease and illnesses that cause brain inflammation.
Medics in the region reported some 8,215 tick bites including 2,125 cases that involved children. The suburbs of Krasnoyarsk city are infested with 214 ticks per square kilometer. Normally, the “safe” figure is only 0.5. Almost 2% carry tick-borne viral encephalitis, which can lead to permanent brain damage, with a third capable of passing on tick-borne borreliosis – or Lyme disease, attacking the joints, heart, and nervous system, reports the region’s Epidemiology and Hygiene Centre.
Several Siberian regions have been hit by swarms of hybrid ticks, reported Zvezda, the Russian defense ministry’s newspaper. “Mutant ticks are attacking – this is not a tabloid headline but a fact,” stated its report. These combine the “worst qualities” of two common types of Russian tick – Ixodes persulcatus, the taiga tick, and the “malicious” Pavlovsky or Far Eastern tick. They attack people on both long and short grass. –Star