London, July 16 (IANS) People with type A blood could be more at risk of being bitten by a tick, including bugs that cause the potentially fatal Lyme disease, a study says.
Ticks are blood-sucking parasites, often found in woodlands, carrying a host of bacteria.
In the study, researchers from the Masaryk University in Czech Republic, dropped a tiny sample of blood from types A, B, AB and O onto a sterile layer of filter paper on a Petri dish in the lab.
An Ixodes ricinus tick or a “sheep tick”, was placed in the dish and scientists tracked its movements for two minutes.
The results revealed that the ticks preferred type A blood 36 per cent of the time, while 15 per cent of the parasites gravitated towards blood type B, the Daily Mail reported.
“The study demonstrated that blood group might be one of the factors determining the feeding preferences of Ixodes ricinus ticks,” lead researcher Alena Zakovska, from the varsity, was quoted as saying.
“The information obtained about the potential preference of ticks for specific blood groups can be used to reduce the risk of tick bite,” she added.
Further studies are needed to confirm the link and establish why ticks may prefer certain blood types, the researchers warned in the journal Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine.
Ticks are generally oval, flat and small — the size of a sesame seed when unfed. Once engorged with blood, they can grow to the size and shape of a coffee bean.
They look for hosts to cling to, often by climbing to the top of a long blade of grass and waiting.
It’s thought that 17 per cent of ticks are infected with a bacteria — borrelia bacterium — that can potentially cause Lyme disease, characterized by fever, headache and a ring-shaped rash that resembles a bullishness.
“People with the risk blood type A should take appropriate measures to protect themselves more effectively,” Zakovska said.