Ticks like soft, thinner areas of skin that are well-supplied with blood. To discover precisely “where”, was the subject of a Germany-wide study. It concluded that although a tick bite can be found anywhere on the body, ticks favor two spots in particular.
If ticks are removed promptly, it is possible to prevent Lyme disease infection. The pathogen causing Lyme disease, the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, is transmitted from a tick's intestines to the human bloodstream about 12-24 hours after the tick begins feeding. Nevertheless, as tick bites are not painful they often go unnoticed. Hence, it is generally difficult to locate ticks on the body. A Germany-wide empirical study led by Dr. Anja Reichert of Baxter Deutschland GmbH may help in this respect. Her research team set out to answer the question: Where on the body do ticks bite?
Roughly 10,000 tick bites analyzed
As part of the study, physicians all over Germany were sent questionnaires, including illustrations of the human body. The physicians were asked to mark the parts of the body in the illustrations where they had to remove ticks from patients. The researchers collected and analyzed the data of around 10,000 tick bites in two categories: girls and boys up to 16 years and adult men and women.
In principle, tick bites are possible anywhere on the body
The red-colored parts of the body show a bunching of several tick bites in one spot. Apart from certain hotspots, tick bites were fairly evenly distributed across the entire body. The hands, feet, elbows and head were apparently an exception in adults, as very few tick bites were counted there.
All red regions indicate where tick bites were found.
I The groin area, the buttocks, the armpits and the inside of the upper arm were no hotspots per se, but they had a slightly above-average frequency of bites in adults, as well as children.
II Hotspot: Child's head
While in adults very few bites were found on the head, in children most bites were documented on the head and neck.
III Hotspot: Hollow of the knee
In adults and children alike, tick bites were very often documented in the back of the knee.
Tick bites: parts of the body most at risk
The most frequent places for tick bites were found on the heads and necks of children, which was not the case with adults. The front side of the body was a favored region in all patients, especially the chest and abdomen. The research revealed a high count in the groin area of boys and men. On the rear side of the body tick bites were less evenly distributed. There, the ticks appeared to prefer the hollow of the knee in all patients.
Despite these results, researcher Anja Reichert advises against jumping to conclusions. Though tick bites on the heads of children and in the hollow of knees occurred frequently, the study also shows that ticks can bite anywhere. After spending time outdoors, the whole body should thus always be inspected for ticks. That is your best chance of discovering and/or removing the ticks as quickly as possible.