What blood type do ticks prefer?

Ever wonder why some people are more likely to be bitten by a tick than others? Researchers in the Czech Republic claim it may have to do with a person’s blood type. “The influence of blood groups on certain diseases such as malaria or some cancers has been already discussed and proved,” the authors point out. Type O blood has been linked to the slow progression of malaria, transmitted by mosquitoes. “This may suggest that there could be a similar relationship between tick-borne diseases and some blood group(s).”

To explore the possible association, Žákovská and colleagues from Masaryk University in the Czech Republic conducted a pilot study using an in vitro method. Blood from volunteers was placed on the perimeter of filter paper placed on a Petri dish.

Researchers collected 100 nymphal Ixodes ricinus ticks in Ruda, near the Brno Reservoir. These are the most common species of ticks in Europe and the Czech Republic. They are also the primary carrier of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria which causes Lyme disease.

Ixodes ricinus, also called the castor bean tick, is found primarily in Europe.

Tick behavior was monitored at 1 and 2 minute intervals to determine which drop of blood they preferred.

“It can be stated that the most statistically preferred was blood group A, followed by the second groups – O and AB,” writes Žákovská. Type B blood was the least preferred blood group.

The findings need to be replicated in an in vivo study, given that other factors could influence the ticks’ feeding preferences in a living organism, the authors explain. However, “we cannot use model animals,” writes Žákovská, “because different animal species have different systems of blood groups.”

Studies on mosquitoes have shown preferences for certain blood types, according to a literature review by the authors. These studies used human volunteers.

“In one case, they allowed the mosquitoes to feed on the exposed hands of volunteers,” explains Žákovská. “In the second study, the experimenters were studying only ‘landing’ preferences of mosquitoes with amputated proboscis.”

[bctt tweet=”People with Blood Type A should be wary of ticks. Study shows ticks prefer Type A blood.” username=”DrDanielCameron”]

So, what about using human volunteers? Unfortunately, “this approach involves increased risk of contracting a tick-borne infection,” writes Žákovská.

Or, the authors suggest “amputate the proboscis of the vector and/or use ticks which have been both bred and kept from eggs in sterile conditions to avoid the risk of carrying infectious agents.”

The study’s authors conclude that “blood group might be one of the factors determining the feeding preferences of Ixodes ricinus ticks.” And they warn, “people with the risk blood type A should take appropriate measures to protect themselves more effectively, and decrease the risk of contracting dangerous zoonotic diseases transmitted by ticks.”

Article updated: June 4, 2019

  1. Zakovska A, Janecek J, Nejezchlebova H, Kucerova HL. Pilot study of Ixodes ricinus ticks preference for human ABO blood groups using a simple in vitro method. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2018;25(2):326-328.

31 Replies to "What blood type do ticks prefer?"

  • Laura
    02/23/2023 (6:55 pm)

    I Have O+ blood. I live in the very wooded mountains of Colorado. 8700′ elevation. Lots of ticks. Living in this region my entire 39 years…never once had a tick. Even lived outdoors (backwoods camping and cabin stays) for a year.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      02/24/2023 (7:42 am)

      The entomology community is still working on identifying ticks in each region.

  • Devon Davis
    11/30/2020 (9:20 pm)

    I’m blood type B and I never get bitten! I’ve been on many camping trips with friends and I’m always that one guy laying in the bushes or plopped down in the dirt but I will always somehow be the one person who doesn’t have a bite.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      12/01/2020 (7:49 am)

      The research on blood type was from a test tube. I suspect the ticks will take any meal they can find.

    • Charlie
      07/31/2021 (1:37 pm)

      Same here, have had them crawling on me but never bitten.

  • Souless
    07/10/2020 (3:22 pm)

    Damn. Im b+ and ticks have bitten me at least thousand times so far (I spend a lot of my time in nature). Never got anything. But my doctor friend said that I probably got infected as a kid and have immunity to Lyme. Never got any symptoms so far and I’m generally in great health. So I dunno.

    • Dr. Daniel Cameron
      07/11/2020 (7:39 am)

      I am not convinced that one acquires immunity. Every year, I have patients in my practice who thought they were immune.

  • Gemma Brind
    08/04/2019 (7:11 pm)

    I find this very interesting as I am attractive to ticks! So is my father and so is one of my three sons. I believe we must all be the same blood group and I am A negative. Midges love me but not so much mosquitoes.

  • Carole
    06/26/2019 (2:57 am)

    Anyone tested positive for anaplasmosis ??? And long term effects?

1 2 3 4

Join the Lyme Conversation
(Note: comments are moderated. You will see your comment after it has been reviewed.)

Some html is OK