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Thread: Health tip for those coming to Africa

  1. #1

    Health tip for those coming to Africa


    Ticks are an everyday problem in the bush and the below (taken from another forum) is extremely rare, and the time I've heard of a fatality (although I do know of one case of a near fatality). Anyway, I thought I'd remind you of the proper way to deal with ticks so they don't infect you.

    If you get a tick, don't just pull it off or burn it with a cigarette etc because it'll vomit into your bloodstream and probably give you tick bite fever. Instead, take a pair of tweezers and gripping the tick fairly firmly rock it backwards and forwards a few times and then push slightly and then gently pull back........ which should remove the tick in one piece.

    Another tip is to use dog tick and flea shampoo instead of shower gel and make sure you go over every inch of yourself.

    If you take doxycycline as an anti malarial, it'll also give you some protection, but remember to take then at night and also take a daily probiotic to ensure you don't get thrush.

    Farmer with Crimea-Congo fever dies

    July 24 2008 at 03:56PM

    A farmer and professional hunter from Adelaide in the Eastern Cape died on Thursday after been diagnosed with Crimea-Congo haemorrhagic fever, the health department said

    Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the man, 39, died at the St Georges hospital.

    "Following his diagnosis an health investigation team was sent to Adelaide to see if anyone else was infected.

    "No one else was diagnosed with the fever," he said.

    The man was admitted to hospital on July 12.

    The viral disease is transmitted to humans by ticks or contact with blood or tissue from infected animals, and is potentially fatal.

    Kupelo said the man was reportedly bitten by a tick on July 3, and went to see a doctor four days later.

    Three days after that he developed a range of typical fever symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and joint pains.

    The fever is the most common of a range of haemorrhagic fevers that occurs in South Africa.

    According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, anything between five and 25 cases are reported each year, most of them in the Karoo, the Western Free State, the Northern Cape and North West province.

    Most of the sufferers are farmers, farm labourers, hunters or abattoir workers.

    Symptoms include fever, aching muscles, dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, headache, sore eyes, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, nose bleeding, and other non-normal bleeding.

    According to the World Health Organisation, one in three sufferers dies from the disease.

    There is no safe and effective vaccine widely available for human use. - Sapa

  2. #2
    We were up at Thurso fishing a few years back and picked up a fair few. The ghillie said to grab with tweezers, 1/4 turn anti clockwise then pull and it worked as well.

    Like you say, get it done in one go and don't harrass them or they puke.

  3. #3

    travel health

    Hi Guys
    part of my job is to run a travel clinic, so if anyone needs any travel advice feel free to contact me.

  4. #4
    And that guys is a very useful offer indeed. A lot of travellers just consult their GPs and most GPs are nowhere near up to date on their knowledge or tropical medicine and diseases etc. Travel clinics on the other hand are considerably more jacked up on the relevant subjects.

  5. #5
    Always very good idea to get the right advice off the right person before travelling.
    I remember once I was in the docs having a nurse take some stitches out of my nack and I was led there reading a notice/map on the wall.I asked the nurse what injections etc I needed to travel to some strange places, ,Uzbeckistan, Khazacstan, Azerbeijan etc etc and she said "oh you will need so and so and this and that, it will be about 3 week cousre so when you planning on going?" I told her I wouldn`t bother as I`d been working out there for 2 yrs.
    Apparentley the places I was going to were quite iffy with regard to diseases.

  6. #6
    Ticks are a growing and seriously problem in number of hunting locations, whether in the UK or Africa.

    I know at least three people who have been confirmed to have Lyme Disease following tick bites here in the UK; one had it several months before it was diagnosed correctly and treated and he was very close to loosing the battle at that point!

    There are a few different tick tweezers/removers on the market. Some, like the ones shown below from Jaeger Sport operate similarly to a tweezer ie they grip the tick as you pull the little beastie out...

    This design is best avoided as unless you are very careful, there is a good chance the pressure they exert will squeeze the contents of the tick into your blood stream. If you wish to use this type of design, the link below explains how to use it properly:

    The other popular type of remove have a tiny "loop" or "slot" at the end which when passed over the ticks, "lifts" it out via the end/mouth parts..

    The link below shows how to use this type correctly:

    I've not tried any of these products, so this is not an endorsement, just information to increase peoples awareness.

    I use a Swedish tick removal tool a friend brought back for me which works on the "loop" principle and seems to work ok.

    Remember ticks can cause serious illness or death so they need to be taken seriously. The risk is not only to yourself, but also to your dog if he should get an infected bite...

  7. #7
    Excellent thread this!
    Use a good repellent to discourage ticks in the first place, DEET is the best if your skin can tolerate it, if not use citronella or eucalyptus oils (or a mix of both).
    As shakari says some anti-malarials give some protection against tick borne diseases, but never take them on an empty stomach (I had a nasty experience on malarone by doing that).
    Remember that most of central and eastern europe is now rife with TBE and the former Soviet Union is full of it too, plus it's being reported at ever higher frequencies in Germany & France too and could be here in the UK, so it's not just Africa you have to worry about.
    The twister tweezers posted by Pete E are brilliant but practice taking ticks out of a cull deer first if you can before trying them on yourself or your dog.

  8. #8
    We use the green plastic slot type and remove ticks from the dogs on a daily basis. The ticks as so rife this year that examination of the dogs and ourselves on a daily basis is part of our normal day now. It has been used successfully on my wife, myself and the dogs. I am quite keen to try one of the loop type to compare them.

    Suppose I had better contact Frax


  9. #9

    Just checked the model I use and it is the "Tick1" by Fastingplockare and the sticker on it says they can be contacted at

    The picture below shows my pocket firstaid kit and the tick remover is the stainless steel item just below the alcohol free wipes on the left hand side of the image :

    Whats up with the remover you are using at present?



  10. #10
    Thanks for that Pete, there is nothing wrong with the tool being used, other than it can be a bit difficult on the smaller ticks. I remember someone saying that his wife had tried to take a tick out of one of his dogs and the head got left in, on it's eyelid or somewhere IIRC, and he got just the head out using ine of those loop or lasso type of things.

    I told my wife of this and I got the hard word from management to obtain said loop thingy. So immediately following my previous post I contacted Frax and placed an order for a couple.


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