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Lyme Disease Ticks In Florida


Where Do We Find Ticks

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Generally, you can find ticks where the animals they feed on live. This usually includes wooded and grassy areas. An adult tick quests for its next blood meal by climbing up grasses and bushes to wait for an animal to pass by. Nymphs and larvae are typically found in layers of decomposing leaves underneath trees. Ticks thrive in damp environments and are less active in hot, dry weather.

Odds Of Catching Lyme Disease From A Tick Bite

The chance of catching Lyme disease from an individual tick ranges from roughly zero to 50 percent. Risk of contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite depends on three factors: the tick species, where the tick came from, and how long it was biting you. Thats why the sooner you can remove the entire tick, the lower your chances of contracting a tick-borne disease.

Where we live makes a difference in these odds, too. We live in the upper Midwest, and unfortunately for us, a recent study found that up to 50 percent of blacklegged ticks are infected with Lyme disease. The Centers for Disease Control, however, state that it takes a tick 36 to 48 hours attached to the skin to transmit symptoms from tick bites and tick-borne disease.

Whether or not that timeframe is true, I cant say for sure. But I can say that Lyme disease is preventable, and taking a proactive approach to avoiding tick bites can save you a lot of aggravation. If you do spot a tick on yourself or your child, take them to the doctor or Firelands Regional Medical Center QuickCare, where they may be prescribed antibiotics. You can even opt to have the tick tested for Lyme disease.

Most of the time tick bites are harmless and symptoms from tick bites are rare. However general symptoms from tick bites include:

Dr. Mark Schmiedl

The Trouble With Ticks

Lets face it: Florida is a breeding ground for ticks, and summer is prime time for these nasties. Heres what you can do to minimize tick bites and how to handle if you do get bitten.

Lets face it: Florida is a breeding ground for ticks. Sit down for a moment on a fallen log this time of year, even on a piece of plastic, and youre bound to pick one up.

With our dry, not so cold winter and spring, tick hosts abound think squirrels, raccoons, deer, and mice and so do ticks. Did you know one female tick can lay up to 6,000 eggs at one go? Yikes!

So when you see that swarm of moving dots on your pant leg, thats not your imagination. Thats tick larvae, which we call seed ticks, looking for a meal. And yes, that meal is you. Ticks are the vampires of the creepy-crawly world: they need blood meals to survive.

According to the Center for Disease Control , Infections from tickborne diseases in the US are steadily increasing and new tickborne diseases have been discovered in recent years.

Although all tick species can carry viruses and bacteria, three species the blacklegged tick , lone star tick, and American dog tick are the main culprits.

All three are found in Florida, in larger numbers every year. As are reported cases of Lyme Disease, for which the blacklegged tick is the carrier.

So what can you do to avoid ticks and the diseases they carry? Be vigilant.

Other symptoms include extreme tiredness and weakness.

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What Are The First Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

In the first early localized stage of Lyme disease the skin at the site of the tick bite becomes infected with Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria which can cause an expanding round or oval red skin lesion called erythema migrans. This may or may not be associated with flu-like symptoms within days to a month after the tick bite such as achiness, chills, fever, sweats, fatigue, malaise, headache, stiff neck, muscle soreness, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and sore throat. The combination of the skin lesion and flu-like symptoms are the primary manifestations of acute stage Lyme disease. Acute Lyme disease is not associated with typical cold-like symptoms of runny nose, prominent cough, or prominent diarrhea.

How To Prevent Tick Bites In Jacksonville And Northeast Florida

Florida Tick Season: Everything You Need to Know

Following these helpful hints combined with a tick control regiment at home with Mosquito Squad is your smartest course of action when outdoors.

1. Walk in the center of paths and trails. Stay clear of thick grasses and dense vegetation.

2. Keep grass, shrubs and trees close to your residence well-trimmed to discourage tick nesting.

3. When outside with your pets, use veterinarian recommended products to keep ticks off them.

4. Perform regular tick checks on yourself, your family, and your pets, especially if you find a tick in the process of biting you. In our experience, they love to latch onto bare feet and exposed arms and legs.

5. Shower soon after being in a tick habitat.

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Lone Star Ticks: Not Guilty In Spread Of Lyme Disease

The lone star tick has at times been presumed to be a vector of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease in humans. A new review of three decades worth of research, however, concludes otherwise: While lone star ticks are guilty of transmitting bacteria that cause several human illnesses, the scientific evidence says Lyme disease is not one of them.

Not all ticks are alikeparticularly when it comes to their role in spreading Lyme disease.

The bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States, are transmitted to humans primarily by the blacklegged tick , which is abundant in the eastern United States. Often presumed guilty by association is the lone star tick , a southern tick species that has spread northward in recent decades. However, a new review of three decades worth of research concludes the latter should be exonerated: While lone star ticks are guilty of transmitting bacteria that cause several human illnesses, the scientific evidence says Lyme disease is not one of them.

Lone star tick bites can indeed cause a range of human illnesses, including ehrlichiosis, Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness , and red meat allergy. STARI produces rashes that mimic those seen with Lyme disease however, Lyme disease, properly termed Lyme borreliosis, is caused by a bacterium named Borrelia burgdorferi.

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Raising Awareness Lowering Risks

For Kirsten Stein, the growing awareness of Lyme disease comes about a decade too late. Stein, 51, first became ill with the disease over Labor Day weekend in 2010. But it took 3 years and more than a dozen doctors before her condition was diagnosed.

In part, she said, thatâs because sheâs a resident of coastal Marin County, CA, where many doctors believed Lyme disease was rare or nonexistent.

âIt felt like the worst flu of my life and I never had anything so horrible ever,â said Stein, a wife and mother of two teenagers. âI had spreading numbness, severe foot pain, bone pain, Iâd get swelling in my hands and feet, shortness of breath, and the fatigue was beyond anything Iâd ever experienced.â

She also had dizziness, speech problems, brain fog, daily nausea for years, and even Bellâs palsy. But none of the doctors she initially saw could explain her symptoms.

âIt was terrifying. I was very active and fit, and I couldnât get an answer to what was going wrong and why I was waking up with some new weird symptom for months at a time,â said Stein, an avid mountain biker and outdoor enthusiast. âI had three MRIs, I did countless blood tests, allergy tests, you name it. I went down every road I could.â

Eventually, her daughtersâ pediatrician suggested she go for Lyme disease testing after she told him about her symptoms.

Two months later, she was told she had tested positive for Lyme disease and two other bacterial infections.

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What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease

  • Lyme disease is an infection caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite.

  • There are over 300,000 estimated new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year.

  • The symptoms of Lyme disease depend on the how long the infection has been present in the body. The first sign of Lyme disease is often an expanding round or oval red bullseye rash.

  • If left untreated, people may develop neurological symptoms and heart problems, and have an approximately 60 percent chance of developing Lyme arthritis.

Chronic Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Adults

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If Lyme disease is not diagnosed and treated early, the bacteria can spread or go into hiding in different parts of the body. That means the symptoms of Lyme disease can disappear for weeks, months, even years later, without treatment. It can then reappear at different times.

Even with treatment, some people suffer from chronic symptoms of Lyme disease. While the bacteria may have been eliminated from the body, its possible for some effects to linger.

Chronic or late stage symptoms of Lyme disease are similar to those of early stage Lyme disease. That being said, there are important differences.

People with chronic Lyme disease symptoms can develop problems with the heart, circulation, brain, nervous system, muscles, joints, digestive system, reproductive system, and skin. Other symptoms of chronic Lyme disease also include extreme fatigue and short-term memory loss.

Because many chronic Lyme disease symptoms occur in other diseases many of those suffering with chronic Lyme disease report being misdiagnosed with a different condition.

For early stages of Lyme disease, the treatment failure rate ranges from 16% to 39%. Estimates of misdiagnosis for those with chronic Lyme disease are much higher, ranging from 26% to 50%.

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How Are Ticks Introduced

Ticks are often introduced by rodents and other wildlife as they wander through. Theyll seek out tall grass, thick vegetation, and wooded areas where theyll wait for a new host to wander by.

Another way ticks arrive is on people and pets. If you spend time in areas where ticks are likely to be , you run the risk of bringing them home.

Comparison Of Dna Extraction Protocols

DNA concentrations used in PCR ranged from 1.91158.4 ng for Qiagen and 2.5420.8 ng for Trizol protocols. For the Qiagen protocol the average DNA concentration for adults, nymphs and larvae were 37.87 , 18.22 , and 20.05 ng/µl . The Trizol protocol averages for DNA concentrations were 92.15 , 130.36 , and 199.80 ng/µL . The Trizol extracted significantly more DNA compared to the Qiagen protocol . We had an average 280/260 value of 1.67 for the Trizol protocol and 1.79 for Qiagen. We did see significant difference between the 280/260 . For the 260/230 values we obtained an average value of 1.34 for the Trizol and 1.31 for the Qiagen protocol. We did not see significant differences in the 260/230 values between both extraction protocols . DNA quantity of DNA did not impact our PCR results for the Trizol and Qiagen protocols .

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Lyme Diseases Cousin In The Northeast

Peter Krause has seen plenty of patients with Lyme disease. He has also seen his fair share of cases where classic symptoms suggest Lyme, but tests for the disease-causing bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, come back negative.

The Yale tick-borne diseases expert now says that in some instances, a related and recently discovered disease may be to blame. Borrelia miyamotoi elicits symptoms similar to its better-known bacterial cousin with two trademark exceptions: Patients do not get a bulls-eye rash, and they come down with a fever in which the symptoms relapse and remit over the course of about a year.

To track down the disease, Krause tested blood from people living in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, areas endemic for tick-borne disease. His analyses confirmed the presence of B. miyamotoi in 1 percent of healthy patients. Three percent of patients with Lyme-like symptoms tested positive for the antibody against the bacteria as well.

Lyme is still far more prevalent, but one characteristic gives B. miyamotoi a leg up: While ticks cannot pass Lyme spirochetes to tick offspring, B. myamotoi is transmitted from female to larvae through eggs. Thus, the relapsing fever can be spread by the bite of larval ticks as well as the customary nymphs that cause Lyme.

This will take a long, long time to fully understand, but a start has been made, Krause says. Breanna Draxler

Should You Get A Test For Lyme Disease

Lone Star Tick becoming active in Florida

If Lyme disease is treated soon after a tick bite, the outlook is great. Most cases of Lyme disease respond to a 2- to 4-week round of antibiotics.

If Lyme disease goes untreated, it can be more difficult to eliminate. For some, it can lead to inflammation of the joints, heart, and nervous system. Progression of the disease, and its severity, can vary from person to person.

Lyme disease is staged in categories: acute, early disseminated, and late disseminated. Later stages of Lyme disease may involve multiple systems in the body.

The most common sign of Lyme disease is an erythema migrans, or bulls-eye rash. The rash often appears after a delay of 3 to 30 days after the tick bite, according to the

Research from 2014 suggests that the bulls-eye rash may last for 3 to 4 weeks. About 80 percent of people with Lyme disease have a single erythema migrans rash. But the bacteria can spread and lead to multiple rashes, indicating disseminated Lyme disease.

While a rash is the most common symptom of Lyme disease, it isnt the only one.

With disseminated Lyme disease, symptoms can also include neurologic conditions, such as cranial nerve palsy and meningitis that mimics aseptic meningitis. Heart inflammation can also be a sign of Lyme disease.

If youre experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, an at-home test may help you identify Lyme disease. With the click of a button, a test can be shipped to your front door.

To select the best tests, we look at studies and user reviews.

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If Lyme Disease Is So Rare In Florida Do We Really Need Jacksonville Tick Control

Environmental experts believe that even with plenty of them lurking in our moist, dense Jacksonville undergrowth and foliage, Florida Lyme Disease cases are no match for the number of cases in the Northeastern U.S.

Disease-spreading ticks feed on different types of wildlife in FL and they are not as mobile in our hot, sunny northeast Florida climate.

Lyme Disease is the most common tick-borne illness in the United States, with an estimated 300,000 cases each year. And unfortunately for healthcare experts, according to The Centers for Disease Control, the vast majority of those cases are not confirmed. So, the number of people walking around with debilitating Lyme Disease is truly unknown. And that is really scary.

But what we do know among the confirmed cases is the imbalance of diagnosed Lyme Disease cases in the Northeastern and Southeastern United States even though deer ticks are rampant in both regions.

Interestingly enough, scientists now believe they have found clear answers to this disparity. The clarification begins with mice and lizards!

Though they often feed on reptiles here in Jacksonville, they are less likely to receive a strong dose of the Lyme Disease pathogens when taking their blood meal.

Lyme Disease: What Floridians Need To Know

Stay up to date with the latest medical news and research at UHealth.

Youve just visited family up north or spent the weekend hiking in North Florida. You made great memories, but that flu-like feeling isnt one of them. Its probably just a case of post-travel fatigue, right?

Maybe, or maybe not. If you live in South Florida, Lyme disease isnt necessarily on your radar. However, the blacklegged tick that causes LD is common in Florida, as are other ticks that transmit disease. And its estimated that about 300,000 people are infected annually in the U.S. While most cases occur in North or Central Florida, the majority of Floridians are infected when visiting northern states, hence the nickname Snowbirds disease.

Because the condition is less common in Florida and its symptoms mimic those of other diseases, its easy to overlook. Nearly half of Lyme cases are misdiagnosed in the early phase, when treatment is most beneficial.

There is an upside. Simple precautions can help you avoid Lyme disease. Its also treatable if caught early. The long-term consequences of Lyme disease are serious, so its important to be aware of this and other tick-borne diseases. Ive treated patients infected by deer ticks after they visited the Florida Keys, for example, says Dr. Schartess Culpepper Pace, a rheumatologist with the University of Miami Health System.

Signs and symptoms of lyme disease

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Body aches

Prevention is key

To avoid ticks, follow these guidelines:

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Later Signs Of Lyme Disease

What if Lyme disease isnt detected early on? The longer that disease-causing bacteria linger in the body, the more they disseminate, and as these microbes spread to tissues throughout the body, they can trigger a litany of symptoms. CDC says these may include:

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Additional EM rashes. These lesions may pop up on other areas of the body
  • A type of facial paralysis known as Bells palsy
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling. Knees and other large joints are vulnerable
  • Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
  • Nerve pain
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet

You might have persistent or episodic symptoms, says Dr. Green. Pain that seems to move through the body? Thats common too. The hallmark of late Lyme is migratory joint pain: today my right knee hurts and tomorrow Im limping on my left ankle, and, oh, my third finger of my right hand swelled up, and, oh, my neck has swelled up, she says.

In rare cases, Lyme disease bacteria can enter the tissues of the heart. This complication, called Lyme carditis, can lead to lightheadedness, fainting, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or chest pain.