専門家に聞く!マダニの恐怖と、マダニから身を守る方法

世界的に著名なアーティストがマダニを感染経路とする症状で闘病中、というニュースが報じられています。日本でも昨年、マダニにかまれたことが原因による「日本紅班(こうはん)熱」を発症して亡くなられた人や、「重症熱性血小板減少症候群(SFTS)」で重体になった方もいらっしゃって話題になりました。マダニは冬も活動しています。一般的な知識や過去の例、具体的な対策について専門家に伺った内容を共有させていただきます。


ほんの数ミリの小さな身体で、人を死に至らしめるとは・・・いわゆる「ダニ」のイメージから「死」と関連付けて考えるのは少し難しいかもしれませんが、蚊やマダニなどの「吸血する昆虫」は感染症の媒介となるケースがあり、注意が必要です。

■血を吸う昆虫

マダニの活動期間は4月頃~10月下旬頃まで。活動が活発なのは25度前後の頃です。マダニは吸血をする昆虫で、野生の動物に寄生して吸血する。それが人についた場合人を吸血します。その中に感染症のウイルスを持ったマダニがいて、人に感染症を媒介する可能性があるわけです。

マダニは地面の落ち葉の間や、草などの葉の先端など、草むらにじっと待ち伏せしており、その近くを野生の動物が通ったら吸血するために飛び移る、という生態です。もともとダニ自体がウイルスを持っているのではなく、動物が持っているウイルスをダニが吸い、そのダニが人間を吸血した際にウイルスを移してしまう、と考えられています。

ただ、全部のマダニが感染症を持っているわけではありません。マダニは日本全国にいますが、過去にウイルスを持ったマダニが見つかったのは西日本が中心でした。東日本では発見されていないだけで、実際にはよくわからないというのが現状です。というのも、マダニを専門に研究している学者さんがいらっしゃらないんです。

ですが、どのマダニがウイルスを持っているか?なんて判断はできませんので、マダニ全体から身を守ることが必要になります。

■マダニの被害が増えている!?

イノシシやシカの個体数が増えているのと比例して、マダニも増えている可能性がありますし、最近ではペットによってマダニが移動している可能性も考えられます。というのも、例えば旅行やアウトドアなど、ペットを遠方の草むらで遊ばせた際にウイルスを持ったマダニがついてしまう可能性です。例えばそのイヌが散歩の際に近所の公園で草などの葉っぱに運んでしまうことになったり、ドッグランで他のイヌに移すことも考えられます。ただ、先ほどもお話しましたが、ダニの研究をしている人がいないので、今のところはまだ「可能性」の範囲です。

■ダニから身を守るには「下半身」の防御が重要

マダニが大好きなのは、柔らかい下草が生えているような場所です。吸血したい野生動物などに飛び移るには、あまり高い場所ではなく低い場所のほうが都合がよいですから。ですので、マダニから身を守るには「足元」を中心に防御するのが最も有効です。

衣服についたマダニは血を吸うために皮膚に向かいます。草むらや草が生えているエリアに入るときは、長ズボンの着用・ズボンの裾は靴下の中、シャツの裾はズボンの中に入れましょう。つなぎの服や長靴の着用が最も効果的ですね。

ちなみに冬の寒い時期はマダニの被害は少ないのですが、これは、寒いからマダニが少ない、ということではなく、人間が厚着になりマダニが皮膚に到着しにくくなること、寒い時期にはあまり山野に行かないことが主な理由だと考えられています。

■防虫は衣服の上から!

マダニに有効な成分としてDEETやイカリジンという、薬局やホームセンターで売っている防虫スプレーの成分があります。これらはマダニ忌避効果がありますので、肌に直接塗るだけではなく、衣服や靴の上から吹きかけると効果的です。DEETに関しては使用年齢の規制があったり、化学繊維を溶かしてしまう可能性がありますので注意が必要です。ストッキングなどには使わないほうがよいですね。一方、イカリジンは比較的やさしい成分でも忌避効果があり、使いやすくてオススメです。

■それでもかまれてしまったら?

万が一、ウイルス感染しているマダニにかまれてしまった場合、とにかく大切なのは「できる限り早く除去すること」です。感染症のウイルスは、ある程度の時間をかけて人体に侵入していきますので、早ければ早いほど感染のリスクを減らすことができます。

ただ、このとき気をつけたいことが“完全に除去する”こと。ちょっと手で払っただけでは、口の部分だけが皮膚に残ることもあります。マダニは食いついてしばらくするとセメント様物質を出して皮膚に固着しますが、そうなると自力での除去は難しくなります。

「できる限り早く、完全に除去」が大切ですが、医療機関に行くまでに時間がかかるようなら、自分でとにかくすばやく除去することを優先しましょう。

<マダニを自力で除去するには>

基本はピンセットを使います。マダニ固体の根元(口器)部分をはさんで、左右に何度か回転させたりマダニの身体を動かしたりし(抜けやすい状態にする)、慎重に引き抜きます。

・強引にむしりとるのはNG

口器がちぎれて皮膚の中に残ってしまう可能性があります

・除去したマダニは捨てないで!

 マダニ類に食いつかれて2週間以内に発熱・頭痛・発疹などの症状が出た場合は、マダニが媒介する感染症の可能性が考えられますので、できる限り早急に医療機関を受診してください。その際に除去したマダニの個体があれば診断がしやすくなります。(マダニ媒介の感染症は診断が難しいものが多いそうです。)

■ペットを守るには

最近では例えば高速道路のサービスエリアなどにもドッグランがあり、ウイルス感染している動物が多い地域で遊んできたペットと接触する機会が増えています。動物病院などで予防接種を行う、ダニ除けアイテムの着用、散歩後の丁寧なブラッシングなども大事です。市販の殺虫剤などでも駆除できますので、お使いいただくことも有効です。


わずか数ミリの生き物のせいで、長年の闘病生活を余儀なくされたり、死に至るケースもあるなんて、考えただけでも恐ろしいですよね。基礎知識をしっかり持ち、万全に対策をしてくださいね。

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