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Have YOU got type A blood? You’re more likely to be bitten by a tick

Supermodel Bella Hadid has repeatedly spoken about her Lyme disease battle

If you’ve got type A blood, you may be better off avoiding a walk in the woodlands.

For research suggests that carriers of the second-most common blood type in the UK are more likely to be bitten by a tick.

Scientists in the Czech Republic have uncovered the evidence that ticks may prefer feasting on people with type A blood.

The blood-sucking parasites, often found in woodlands, can carry a host of bacteria, including bugs that cause the potentially fatal Lyme disease.

Supermodel Bella Hadid has repeatedly spoken about her Lyme battle, after she was struck down in 2012 and had her teenage years ‘taken’ from her. 

Researchers 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. 

A Ixodes ricinus tick, or a ‘sheep tick’, was placed in the dish and scientists tracked its movements for two minutes. 

The experiment by experts at Masaryk University in Brno – 128 miles (206km) south east of Prague – was repeated hundreds of times.

An analysis of the results revealed the ticks preferred type A blood in the majority of cases, choosing it 36 per cent of the time.

Blood type B, however, appeared to be the least palatable for the ticks. Just 15 per cent of the parasites gravitated towards those samples.

Lead researcher Dr Alena Zakovska admitted they are baffled as to why ticks may be attracted to different types of blood.

The blood-sucking parasites, often found in woodlands, can carry a host of bacteria, including bugs that cause the potentially fatal Lyme disease

The blood-sucking parasites, often found in woodlands, can carry a host of bacteria, including bugs that cause the potentially fatal Lyme disease


Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks.

The most common symptoms of the disease are fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash called erythema migrans.

The disease can typically be treated by several weeks of oral antibiotics.

But if left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart and nervous symptoms and be deadly.  


During the first three to 30 days of infection, these symptoms may occur:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Erythema migrans (EM) rash 

The rash occurs in approximately 80 percent of infected people.

It can expand to up to 12 inches (30 cm), eventually clearing and giving off the appearance of a target or a ‘bull’s-eye’.

Later symptoms of Lyme disease include:

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Additional EM rashes
  • Arthritis with joint pain and swelling
  • Facial or Bell’s Plasy
  • Heart palpitations
  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Nerve pain 

Source: CDC

But she and her colleagues have urged those with blood type A to take ‘appropriate measures’ to protect themselves more effectively. 

In the UK, type O blood is the most common, being shared by 44 per cent of the population. A further 42 per cent have type A. 

Further studies are needed to confirm the link and establish why ticks may prefer certain blood types, researchers warned in the Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine.

Dr Zakovska said: ‘The presented study demonstrated that blood group might be one of the factors determining the feeding preferences of Ixodes ricinus ticks.’  

‘The information obtained about the potential preference of ticks for specific blood groups can be used to reduce the risk of tick bite.

‘People with the risk blood type A should take appropriate measures to protect themselves more effectively.’ 

It’s thought 17 per cent of ticks are infected with a bacteria – borrelia bacterium – that can cause potentially Lyme disease.

Common symptoms include fever, headache and a ring-shaped rash that resembles a bullishness.

Effects can often be far more severe, with some long-term implications lasting several years leaving patients bed-bound with little to no energy.

High-profile sufferers of the disease include supermodel Bella Hadid, pop-star Shania Twain and actors Alec Baldwin and Ben Stiller.

Ms Hadid claims she had to abandon hope of becoming an Olympic show-jumper after contracting the condition. 

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria which is carried by ticks and relentlessly attacks the nervous system

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria which is carried by ticks and relentlessly attacks the nervous system


Lyme disease impacts hundreds of thousands of people every year and some of the most high-profile individuals belong to the same family. 

This family includes Yolanda Foster and her children, two daughters and one son. 

The Hadid children are all stars in their own right and two of them, Bella and Anwar, suffer from Lyme disease, much like their mother. 

Gigi is the only one to not have the suffer with Lyme disease.

Yolanda, star of Desperate Housewives and an ex-model, has been a prominent figure in raising awareness of the invisible illness. 

In a previous interview, the mother of three revealed that the pain and discomfort was so severe she contemplated suicide.

Her youngest daughter, Bella, is most well-known for her catwalk displays and for gracing the cover of glossy magazines.  

Diagnosed in 2012 as a teenager, she has previously stated that she had dreams to reach the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as a show jumper. 

Unfortunately, the debilitating illness left her unable to ride and shattered her hopes of becoming an Olympian. 

Bella has severe symptoms which not only stopped her riding, but continue to sap her energy as an adult. 

In an interview with the BBC, she said that Lyme disease makes modelling difficult.   

Anwar Hadid is the youngest of the three children and, like his two older sisters, is a professional model. 

The 18-year old also has Lyme disease, and his mother has previously said he copes with the effects of the disease well. 

Undergoing ozone treatment, Anwar responds well and has minimal symptoms, according to a blog post by Ms Foster. 

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.

They’re found all over the UK, but high-risk areas include grassy and wooded areas in southern England, East Anglia, Yorkshire moors and the Scottish Highlands. 

Ticks can also infect dogs with Lyme disease or in rare cases Babesiosis – a malaria-like tick-borne disease which attacks a canine’s red blood cells.

Iain Booth, of animal medication experts VetUK, said: ‘The study raises important questions for humans, and it may have implications when it comes to canines also.

‘Anecdotal evidence is often presented, where owners have taken two dogs of the same breed for a walk in the same location over the course of many years.

‘One of the dogs may be regularly bitten by ticks, while the other remains tick free.

‘It’s a puzzle for which there’s currently no real scientific answer but it’d be interesting to see a study where ticks showed a preference for certain types of canine blood.’