A PLAGUE of ticks is on the march across England.
They are booming in the South East where global warming is bringing lush bursts of spring vegetation, experts have found.
Getty – Contributor A plague of ticks is on the march across England bringing Lyme disease
Disease-carrying ticks have bred in their billions in rural parts of Kent, Sussex and Essex.
The ‘South East Danger Zone’ is now as bad as traditional danger zones in Italy, Romania, Switzerland and Norway.
It means cases of debilitating Lyme disease are rising, the University of London team says.
Infections shot up by 35 per cent between 2016 and 2017, with around 1,000 every year, according to Public Health England.
The most obvious sign of Lyme disease is a circular red bullseye skin rash surrounding a tick bite, NHS advice says.
Leading UK pest control expert Maio Stanchev said Brits need to be more vigilant, whether at home or abroad.
Ticks could just as easily be lurking in long grass in your garden, just waiting for you to walk pastLeading UK pest control expert Maio Stanchev
He said: “You should use a chemical repellent containing DEET to keep the creatures at bay.
“You should also wear light-coloured protective clothing that covers the skin, as well as tucking your trousers into your socks.
“What’s also vital is that you check your children and pets for any sign of a bite.
“Don’t assume that ticks only live in the forests or wild outdoor areas.
“They could just as easily be lurking in long grass in your garden, just waiting for you to walk past so they can hitch a ride.”
The pest control expert said if you find ticks at home, it is important to catch one and place it in a sealed bag or container so doctors can analyse any bacteria.He added: “Keep the tick for 30 days, just in case you or any members of your family start to experience any of the symptoms of Lyme disease.”This tick specimen can then be analysed by doctors to either confirm or deny the presence of the bacteria.”You might also want to return the tick to Public Health England, which has a tick recording and surveillance programme.”
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Pest control experts said it is vital to remove a tick safely, by using fine-tipped tweezers or a tick-removal tool before cleaning the bite with antiseptic soap and water.
Ticks thrive in areas with an average annual temperature of between 6.8 and 16.8 degrees.
The UK has mean temperatures of between nine and 11 degrees.
What is Lyme disease and how do ticks spread it?