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Merry Christmas, watch out for blood-sucking ticks on the tree!
Photo: DPA

Merry Christmas, watch out for blood-sucking ticks on the tree!

Published: 22 Dec 2009 09:44 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Dec 2009 09:44 GMT+01:00

Families who bring Christmas trees into their homes should watch out for ticks this holiday season because the tiny blood-sucking, disease-ridden creatures often survive winter temperatures, German daily Bild reported on Monday.

Ticks, the wee arachnids that feed on the blood of other animals, only freeze at temperatures lower than -7 degrees Celsius, the paper reported. If their tree homes were not exposed to chilly temperatures before being sold, they could survive long enough to become a menace at the holiday hearth.

“While setting up and decorating the tree a tick can get on clothing,” insurance expert Rolf Dockhorn told Bild, adding that this can be particularly dangerous because people are not expecting the little invaders and may not notice them right away.

Ticks carry Lyme disease, or borreliosis, a dangerous bacterial disease, as well as encephalitis, a virus that attacks the nervous system.

Those who venture out for winter walks should also be on their guard for ticks, the paper said. In warmer years they are able to survive and hide in shrubbery from where they can easily attach themselves to passersby.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:12 December 22, 2009 by Frenemy
YES!! That's EXACTLY what we need; more senseless fear-mongering (as if that H1N1 piggy-fever vaccination sh!t wasn't enough)!! Why are people so damn stupid?!
04:05 December 23, 2009 by Noyourjob
Frenemy listed above

That unreal, that someone would take offense to valuable info.
13:55 December 23, 2009 by Frenemy
...I rest my case!
17:28 December 23, 2009 by merrytickmas
Um, this actually happened to me. Woke up one morning and hundreds of ticks hatched everywhere out of the Christmas Tree. Not fun to have to fumigate & move out during the holidays. What the article fails to mention would be the tip of spraying your christmas tree with insecticide before bringing it into the house! It was a very un-merry tickmas.
17:57 December 23, 2009 by Frenemy
"hatched" out of your xmas tree??? Ticks are hematophagic extoparasites!!! They don't hatch into sh!t....

Merry "tickmas" to you too! (believe it or not, people survived these lethal tick-infested xmas trees for like hundreds of years!! ;-) )
20:48 December 23, 2009 by Jim Wilson
Frenemy, clearly merrytickmas was using the term hatched loosely and for you to have not recognized this makes one question your interpretive skills.

Ticks carrying Lyme disease, TBE, and other diseases can come into your home on Christmas trees, so being alerted to it was a fabulous Christmas gift from the newspaper and author of the article.

If you are going to throw around big words please spell them correctly... ectoparasites.... no such thing as an extoparasite. All it means is they live outside on their host as opposed to living inside the body.

Ticks actually spend a great deal of time off hosts altogether, on and under plantlife.

Your other big word is incorrect as well, hematophagous simply means they feed on blood but that does not imply anything about finding them on trees.

With Lyme disease being a very real and serious disease, and with it becoming the most wide-spread rapidly emerging infectious zoonotic disease in the world ( I believe Germany has already had over 70,000 cases in 2009 alone) it is rather naive to consider the article fear-mongering unless of course you live somewhere off this planet. The US government estimates they have in excess of 200,000 cases per year. For good info on this disease including prevention tips go to www.CanLyme.com
01:07 December 24, 2009 by Paisleykilt
Thank you Jim for your information, which complemented the article well. I think we can all agree that being vigilant is not the same as being paranoid. Therefore, a reminder that infected ticks might be on a Christmas tree is just that: a bit of useful information, not a scare tactic. To accuse the author and others of fear-mongering is just silly. I, for one, am grateful that someone thought to tell me about this. I'd rather check for ticks and remove them than be unwittingly bitten and possibly suffer serious health problems later on.
08:41 December 24, 2009 by Frenemy
"be unwittingly bitten"

...as opposed to what? voluntarily offering your hand to the blood-sucking fiend??!!

Look people, ticks are not new! There has not been an ornamental/tree-decorating related tick-bite problem in the past and there won't be one in the foreseeable future!!
00:51 January 6, 2010 by oneofakind
Hhmmm Frenemy...YES you are correct, these pesky little ticks have indeed been around a looong time. Is that what you needed to hear - that you are right?! OK right-fighter.....as well as the ticks being around for quite some time so has...Ummm, MS, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis....and about 200-300 other diseases that Lyme disease mimics. So, how about you educate yourself a little bit on the health subject before jousting on line again. The rest of the world is using the awareness to investigate misdiagnosed illnesses and try to help heal sick ones from what was originally thought to be incurable diseases...that could have indeed been started by a "Christmas tree tick"...
02:51 May 5, 2010 by sonyarose
This is a very serious disease, which may kill you before your time & you won't even know what hit you. By the time you do, it may be too late; a slow-moving death you might say -- which attacks every part of your body. May have been around for centuries but now the Borrelia genus has been changed in labs -- for biological warfare, the biggest crime against humanity. The biowar experimentation can be traced as far back as WW2. This is an excellent article. I praise all the HONEST DOCTORS & RESEARCHERS who make the bravest attempt to treat or research Lyme disease acc. to ethical principles. These are our World Gladiators who risk being persecuted & threatened by government-backed organisations in the US, Europe, & elsewhere. My best suggestion is for everyone to be tested for MYCOPLASMA. It is the missing link in a lot of illnesses, including chronic fatigue illnesses & cancer. God Bless~
15:30 August 24, 2010 by jamaicabraden
christmas trees
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