In 2022, the reported number of tick bites in the Netherlands fell by a third compared to previous years. In order to find a satisfactory explanation for such differences, researchers at WUR and RIVM have initiated a large-scale study via Tekenradar.nl. This will give them more insights into the 1.5 million tick bites in the Netherlands every year.
Most tick bites in Gelderland
In 2022, the reported number of tick bites was below the average of recent years in all Dutch provinces, except in Flevoland. There were fewer reports of tick bites in Belgium as well. In the Netherlands, most reports were made in Gelderland – the same as in 2021. The number of reports made in this province was 887. North Brabant and North Holland took up second and third place, with 554 and 490 reports respectively.
Number of tick bites relative to population size
The number of tick bites relative to population size was highest in Drenthe (75/100,000 inhabitants), followed by Gelderland (43/100,000) and Flevoland (42/100,000). It was lowest in South Holland, with 13 tick bites per 100,000 inhabitants.
Help us – report tick bites every week
To find out more about the number of tick bites in the future, the researchers have started working with a fixed group of people who make reports. The members of this fixed group report the number of times they have been bitten by ticks every week, even if they were not bitten. Lead researchers Kees van den Wijngaard (RIVM) and Arnold van Vliet (WUR) are looking for more people to join the group: ‘These reports will make it much easier for us to determine when the number of tick bites goes up or down. Once we have more members, we can make more accurate statements about increases and decreases.’
If you want to help us by reporting the number of times you have been bitten by ticks once a week, please sign up at Tekenradar.nl.
Insights into Lyme disease
In addition to the study involving a fixed group of people who make reports, thousands of people report tick bites at Tekenradar.nl every year. These reports yield many new insights into ticks and the risk of Lyme disease. Last year, the reported number of tick bites fell by 33% compared to 2021. Factors that determine the number of reports made include the number of ticks and the amount of time people spend in nature.
Remove ticks quickly to halve risk of Lyme disease
If you find a tick on your body, take extra care to check the rest of your body as well. This is because people often report multiple tick bites at once. Use a tick remover to remove the ticks as quickly as you can. This lowers the risk that you will get Lyme disease. Report any bites at Tekenradar.nl. Here, you can also find more information on tick bites and Lyme disease.