National

Ticks
 Following on from previous posting “Warning of tick bites escalating in Spain”  Mazarrón Council’s Environmental Heath dept has provided the following leaflet from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, click on this link:-

Warning of tick bites escalating in Spain

An article in online newsfeed “20 minutos” has been published, the article also contains a video of what to look for, click on the link (translation below) https://www.20minutos.es/salud/alertan-sobre-el-aumento-de-garrapatas-en-espana-como-evitarlas-cual-es-la-tecnica-para-quitarlas-4785389/?autoref=true

WARNING about the increase of ticks in Spain: how to avoid them? What is the technique to remove them?

ANECPLA (National Association of Environmental Health Companies) asks for extreme precautions to avoid possible serious diseases that can be transmitted.

An expert explains to “20 minutos” how to proceed when a tick is attached to the body.

Summer is coming and many people go out into the countryside to spend the day, a very widespread leisure choice in Spain. However, despite the great benefits of going out to enjoy nature and breathe fresh air, there are also drawbacks that must be taken into account; one that is increasingly common is tick bites.

According to the National Association of Environmental Health Companies (ANECPLA), in Spain “the number of people who go to medical care centres with tick bites has skyrocketed”, so they ask for extreme caution to prevent these small animals transmitting serious diseases.

Where are ticks found?

Ticks are usually found in the higher parts of vegetation, and when a warm-blooded animal passes by, they drop down in search of the blood they need. In addition, when they land on the skin of a person or an animal, they are barely felt, because they exhale an anaesthetic before they attach firmly and proceed to suck the blood.

Milagros Fernández de Lezeta, president of ANECPLA, explains to “20 minutos” how latterly climate change is affecting the proliferation of tick bites: “With climate change, a change in tick behaviour is being observed. Cases have been found in which the tick does not let itself fall off, but instead remains predatory, adopting a strange movement, as it moves searching its victim”.

Likewise, he adds that “there are areas that were not colonized before, such as the colder areas, but with climate change these places have become temperate and ticks are appearing.”

For Fernández de Lezeta, a fundamental issue to prevent them from appearing in towns and cities is the maintenance of parks and gardens, something that for various circumstances is no longer done in the usual way. “Before, vegetation sanitary (spraying) treatments were carried out to remove weeds, but those treatments have been reduced, because the (chemical) products are no longer permitted. Furthermore, now with COVID the priorities for local administrations have changed and those areas have not been cleaned, allowing species like ticks to colonize them” he explains.

What diseases can they transmit?

Although there are many diseases that ticks can transmit, the most serious are: Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, Lyme disease or viral encephalitis.

The Crimean-Congo disease was endemic in Africa until 2013, but since that year nine affected people have been detected in Spain, of which three died as a result of a tick bite.

“It is difficult for a tick to transmit a disease to us, but once it transmits a disease such as the Crimean-Congo disease, the mortality rate is very high, 30%,” warns the president of ANECPLA, adding that ” as a reference in terms of percentage of mortality, COVID is between 0.5% and 1% “.

How to avoid a bite?

Protect your skin with long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, or use a tick repellent, are some of the tips to avoid being bitten, but you should also “avoid going through areas of denser vegetation when walking on trails”, adds Fernández de Lezeta.

In addition, it is very common that some animals such as dogs, who usually go with their owners on visits to the countryside, return home with a tick attached to their body. “It is necessary to avoid passing through zones of high vegetation and also to apply repellent”, ANECPLA recommend.

In addition, it is essential to check the animals when returning home: “It is important to look at their ears and armpits; in all those areas that are hotter, because that is where the ticks will be.”

It has already bitten me … what do I do?

In the worst case, if the tick has finally managed to attach to the body, it is advisable to have the removal done by a professional. “When someone is bitten by a tick, you have to be careful with the extraction, because sometimes it (the body) is removed and the oral apparatus remains inside, which causes infections,” explains Fernández de Lezeta.

If you are not in a position to go to a health centre, the best way to remove a tick from the skin is by using tweezers. “It is taken from the head of the tick and pulled up, to avoid that the oral apparatus remaining” he insists.

In addition, in that case “it is important to take the tick to a health centre, where it can be analysed for microorganisms and parasites that may have transmitted an infection of any important disease.”

The President of ANECPLA, is also quoted in the Daily Express as saying

“This summer, the risk is not only in the countryside but in an environment that we frequent so much now on our vacations [including by] the beach or the pool. We have to remain equally alert.”

Additional local information

Councillor for Camposol, Silvana Buxton will be contacting Mazarrón Council’s sanitation department to enquire if any preventative treatment or advice can be offered against tick proliferation, details will be published when available.


Changes to National driving laws from May 10th 2021 – excepts from DGT announcement

The objective is to generate a new road safety model that will reduce fatalities and serious injuries by 50 percent over the next decade, in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organization

The reform of the Law on Traffic, Circulation of Motor Vehicles and Road Safety in everything related to the permit and the driving licence by points raises from 3 to 6 those that will be subtracted for driving while holding a mobile with the hand and from 3 a 4 do not use a seat belt, helmet or child restraint system.

The General Traffic Regulation modifies the speed in cities: 30 km / h on roads with a single lane in each direction of movement, 50 km / h on roads with 2 or more lanes in each direction and 20 km / h on roads with a platform single carriageway

The General Vehicle Regulation defines personal mobility vehicles and prohibits their circulation on interurban roads, crossings, sidewalks, urban tunnels and highways and / or highways that pass within the town and they must have a certificate of circulation

The reform of the General Regulations for Drivers lowers the age required to access driving trucks and buses and establishes the possibility that people with problems associated with the locomotive system can access said driving licences

The ultimate objective of the draft is to increase safe behaviours at the wheel, for which it includes, among others, the following measures:

• Increase from 3 to 6 the points to be deducted for driving while holding mobile phone devices.

• Raises from three to four the points that are detracted by not using the seat belt, child restraint systems, helmet and other protection elements. In addition, it explicitly incorporates the misuse of these elements as a cause of sanction (for example, wearing a safety helmet or seat belt without fastening) because the negative consequences for the driver’s safety are the same.

• It classifies as a serious offence “carrying in the vehicle” radar or cinemometer detection mechanisms, which will entail a fine of 200 euros and the loss of three points. Currently, only the use of these devices while driving is sanctioned, but experience has shown that, before a road control, drivers deactivate them to prevent traffic agents from being able to prove their use, so once the reform will sanction its mere possession.

• The reform eliminates the possibility that cars and motorcycles may exceed the speed limits on conventional roads by 20 km / h when they pass other vehicles. The abolition of this measure, which had already been eliminated in the rest of the countries of the European Union, reinforces the message that the overtaking manoeuvre carries a risk of frontal collision.

• Introduces the possibility of recovering 2 points from the licence for taking the courses on safe driving certified by the General Directorate of Traffic. A ministerial order will develop the necessary requirements and the conditions that must be met.

• The reform unifies in two years the period that will have to elapse without committing infractions to recover the initial balance of points, a period that now varies depending on the seriousness of the infraction committed.

• Includes a new very serious offence, committing driving test fraud using unauthorized intercom devices. The penalty will be 500 euros and a penalty of 6 months without being able to appear for the exam.

• On-line access to the Drivers ‘registry is provided for companies that transport people and goods so that they can find out if their workers’ driving licence is valid or not. It will only be reported in red or green depending on whether it is current or not.

The draft, which has already passed the consultation and public information process, has also been reported by the Higher Council for Traffic, Road Safety and Sustainable Mobility; the Office of Coordination and Regulatory Quality; the Spanish Agency for Data Protection, and the current Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda.

After its approval in the first round by the Council of Ministers, the draft must now be informed by the ministries of Finance, Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Labor and Social Economy and Territorial Policy and Public Function.

URBAN MOBILITY

Second, the Council of Ministers has approved a royal decree that modifies both the General Traffic Regulation and the General Vehicle Regulation in terms of urban traffic regulatory measures. The purpose of this text is to reduce the accident rate in urban areas while regulating the new emerging forms of citizen mobility.

The Royal Decree redefines the general speed limits on urban roads (Article 50) based on their different classification:

• On roads with a single carriageway and sidewalk platform, the limit will be 20 km / h.

• On roads with a single lane in each direction of traffic, the limit will be 30 km / h.

• On roads with two or more lanes per traffic direction, the limit will continue to be 50 km / h.

These limits will not apply until six months after the publication of this project in the Official State Gazette, so that citizens are properly aware of them and so that public administrations have sufficient time to adapt the signage.

PERSONAL MOBILITY

The second major area of incidence of this Royal Decree is the regulation of personal mobility vehicles, defined as vehicles with one or more wheels equipped with a single seat and powered exclusively by electric motors that can provide the vehicle with a maximum speed comprised between 6 and 25 km / h.

This definition, which excludes vehicles for people with reduced mobility, means that their circulation on sidewalks and in pedestrian areas is prohibited. They will have to comply with the traffic regulations like the rest of the vehicles and their circulation on interurban roads, crossings, as well as highways and highways that pass within the town or in urban tunnels is also prohibited.

In order to circulate, personal mobility vehicles must have the corresponding certificate of circulation that certifies that they comply with the technical requirements contemplated in the manual of characteristics that will be approved by resolution of the General Director of Traffic.

ACCESS TO THE DRIVING LICENCE

Its main points are:

• The minimum age required to drive trucks is reduced to 18 years after having passed the 280-hour Certificate of Professional Aptitude (CAP). Until now the established age was 21 years.

• The minimum age required to drive coaches is also reduced to 18 years, but only without passengers and within a maximum radius of 50 km. It will only be from the age of 21 and with the CAP of 280 hours when they will be able to carry passengers.

• Both modifications respond to the adequacy of the age for obtaining a driving licence with the established age at which the CAP can be taken. In addition, it is a request made by the road transport sector due to the shortage of professional drivers and opens the possibility for young people to access the labour market.

• It increases from 3,500 kg to 4,250 kg the weight of vans that can be driven in national territory with the B permit for the transport of goods, only when the increase in mass is due to the new propulsion systems. It is a measure that favours the use of non-polluting alternative fuels.

The Royal Decree also introduces some improvements in the training tests necessary to obtain a driving licence. Among others:

• It specifies the mandatory protective equipment that applicants must wear and the skills and circulation tests to obtain motorcycle licences.

• It establishes the possibility that, in certain cases and after an individualized medical and mechanical assessment, access to truck and bus driving licences can be authorized for people with problems associated with the locomotor system. Advances in prosthetics and vehicles make it possible for these people to obtain such permits.

Here is a link to another article in English http://www.ontheroadt