Do You Need to Know About Other Tick-Borne Diseases?

Ticks Carry More Baggage Than a Commercial Jet – Tick-Borne Diseases!

Did you know that all tick-borne diseases are on the rise? Lyme disease may not be the only tick-borne illness that could put your health at risk. With these diseases only becoming more common, you may need to do more to protect yourself and your family. Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to stay protected even with tick-borne diseases rising!

Photo byErikKarits/iStock

This brings me to another point: Since you can’t guarantee that your tick prevention tactics will work all the time, you really need to do daily tick checks on yourself and your kids in the spring and summer.

This doesn’t mean looking under your armpits and calling it a day. Nymph ticks, the ones that usually transmit disease, tend to embed themselves lower on the body in adults, so check behind your knees, in your belly button, and around your genitals, too—even in your butt crack. These ticks are about the size of a poppy seed, so get in there and look closely. For kids—especially those who like to roll around on the ground—you really need to check everywhere on their bodies, including around the hairline and ears.

The good news is that if you do a thorough tick check every day, you should be able to remove most embedded ticks before they can cause illness, because ticks usually don’t transmit pathogens for at least 12 hours; for Lyme, it generally takes 36 hours. (The one exception is powassan or deer tick virus—remember, the one that is Ostfeld’s worst nightmare—because research suggests ticks can transmit the virus within 15 minutes of attaching. But thankfully, this illness is still very rare; only 60 cases have been reported in the U.S. over the past 10 years.)

If you do find a tick, remove it as soon as you can by using tweezers to pull it upward with a steady, even pressure. (It’s generally a bad idea to touch ticks with your bare hands, as their saliva can seep out and potentially make you sick.) If the tick’s head or mouth parts remain embedded, don’t fret; they can’t transmit disease this way, and the body parts will eventually work themselves out. Mather suggests taping the removed tick to a postcard or putting it in a sealed plastic bag along with the date you removed it and then trying to identify the type of tick you found. (If you submit a picture of the tick to Mather’s team online, they’ll tell you what kind of tick it was and how long it had likely been embedded; they’ll even estimate the risk of becoming ill from it.) Then, reward your kid with some ice cream and yourself with an adult beverage, because you just won a battle against a very sneaky and dangerous opponent, small though it was.
– via Slate Magazine

Lyme Disease Has a Cousin

Many people don’t know there’s a very serious tick-borne illness that’s extremely similar to Lyme disease. Very few people know about it because it’s only been recently discovered. Here’s what we know (so far) about Lyme disease’s nasty new relative.

Lyme disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium, and B. miyamotoi may be a distant cousin of that strain. So far, cases of B. miyamotoi are relatively rare, but doctors believe more may start to emerge, especially in areas where Lyme disease is common, such as in the northeastern U.S. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine this past January described 18 people in southern New England and New York who tested positive for the bacterium. The first documented cases of human B. miyamotoi infections occurred in Japan in 2011.

“I think we will definitely see more of it because up to now, people haven’t even know about it. I think that now that they know about it they can look for it,” says Dr. Peter Krause, a senior research scientist in the department of epidemiology and public health at Yale School of Medicine and author of the January study. “It is the very beginning of this disease in humans. We can’t really say now that there is more now then there used to be, because there used to be no cases. I guess you can call it emerging, because there was nothing and now we have something, but it has now been found in humans and it is another disease we have to track.”
– via TIME.com

Which other tick-borne diseases are you familiar with? What are you doing to protect yourself and your family?