Catch A Tick In Hawaii Heres What To Do
If you do find a tick attached, dont panic! Theres nothing special to removing a tick in Hawaii. To remove a tick, use fine-tipped tweezers. Grab the tick as close to your skin as possible. Pull in a gentle yet steady upward motion until the tick comes out. Place the tick in a zip lock bag with a damp cotton ball. There are many labs throughout the mainland that can test the tick for diseases beyond Borrelia. Here is a list of a few:
- www.ticknology.org located in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Cost for the test ranges from $35 $55 depending on the level of expediting you prefer.
- www.tickcheck.com located in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. For non-Pennsylvania residents the cost for the test ranges from $49.99 $99.99 depending on the amount of pathogens you want tested.
- www.tickreport.com located in Amherst, Massachusetts. This lab has three packages to choose from with regards to testing. Package one is $50, package 2 is $100 and package 3 is $200.
Protect Yourself From Ticks
While most ticks do not cause serious health problems, it is important to protect yourself, your family and even your pets from tick bites. It is also important to remove attached ticks immediately in order to avoid potential infection or diseases that can be transmitted from the bite. Some tips to prevent tick bites include:
- Walk on cleared trails whenever possible and avoid walking in tall grassy or wooded areas.
- Wear light-coloured clothing and cover up as much skin as possible. For example, a hat, long-sleeved shirt and long pants with the legs tucked into socks or boots.
- Use a bug spray that contains the chemical DEET or Icaridin to repel ticks and reapply as frequently as directed.
- Check yourself for ticks after leaving a grassy or wooded area where ticks may live.
- Check your pets for ticks after they have been outside. You cannot get Lyme disease from your pet, but your pet can bring infected ticks inside. These ticks can fall off your pet and attach themselves to you.
Can People Get Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Yes, both people and dogs can become infected with RMSF if they are bitten by an infected tick. People cannot get this infection directly from dogs. However, if a dog has become infected, any people or other animals that share the dogs environment could become infected by being bitten by an infected tick.
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What Causes Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that is spread to humans by tick bites. The ticks that carry the spirochete are:
Black-legged deer tick
Western black-legged tick
Ticks prefer to live in wooded areas, low-growing grasslands, and yards. Not all ticks carry the Lyme disease bacteria. Depending on the location, anywhere from less than 1% to more than 50% of the ticks are infected with it.
While most tick bites are harmless, several species can cause life-threatening diseases. Tick-borne diseases include:
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Basics Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
A. Despite its name, Rocky Mountain spotted fever is far more prevalent in the South and East than it is in the Rocky Mountains. Like Lyme disease, it is caused by a bacterium. Untreated, it can sometimes be a fatal disease. It is spread by dog ticks as well as the deer tick. After two to fourteen days, most infected people suffer from a fever , headache, and achiness. Most people will develop a rash which may begin around the wrists and ankles, but it sometimes starts on the trunk. A classic symptom is a rash on the palms and soles of the feet, but fewer than half of the patients will have that. Untreated, about half of the people infected with Rocky Mountain spotted fever will develop permanent neurological problems.
If you handle a tick while removing it, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly to minimize your risk of infection with RMSF. There are reports of infection simply from contact with an infected tick.
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Symptoms Of Ehrlichia Anaplasma And Rmsf
Infections from Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, and Rickettsia bacteria have unique features, and they tend to progress rapidly through the body. The illnesses exist on a spectrum, meaning some people may experience a greater degree of symptoms than others. Generally, symptoms of Ehrlichia and Anaplamsa begin about 1-2 weeks following a tick bite. The rash associated with RMSF typically shows up in 2-4 days.
Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, and RMSF may be mild or severe. Of the three tick-borne diseases, RMSF has the highest chance of resulting in dangerous vascular complications. Note that all three illnesses should be treated with antibiotics promptly.
Hallmark symptoms of Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, and RMSF include:
- High fever
- Muscle aches and pains
- Pink, red, or purple rash on wrists, forearms, ankles, the trunk of the body, and the soles of the feet
- Increased liver enzymes
- Kidney failure
Those who are most prone to severe illness and require hospitalizations from Ehrlichia, Anaplama, and RMSF include the elderly, immunocompromised individuals, and people who have experienced a delay in treatment, states the CDC. More cases of spotted fevers are reported in men than women.
Laboratory Testing Of Ticks For Surveillance
Only ticks that have been requested to be submitted to the lab following photo identification through eTick will be accepted for testing at the lab. This ensures the best use of laboratory services. Most ticks found in Alberta are not the type that can transmit Lyme disease.
Note that Alberta Health Services Environmental Public Health and Indigenous Services Canada First Nations and Inuit Health Branch offices are not accepting tick submissions.
If you are asked to submit your tick to the Alberta Public Health Laboratory through eTick, complete and print the Tick Testing Request form that must accompany your tick to the lab . Submitting a tick to the lab when requested is optional. By submitting the tick when requested, you are helping Alberta Health to monitor for ticks of public health concern in Alberta.
Members of the public can drop off their completed Tick Testing Request form and tick specimen at a local lab location, or send it by mail.
Collection, shipping instructions, drop off locations and mailing address are provided on the Tick Testing Request form as well as below:
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What Are The Complications Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease affects people differently. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Complications of untreated early-stage disease include:
Frequent hospitalizations to manage the disease
Some of these complications result in chronic, debilitating conditions.
Some people may develop post-Lyme disease syndrome . A condition also known as chronic Lyme disease includes PLDS, but also other syndromes. Usually, these are characterized by persistent musculoskeletal and peripheral nerve pain, fatigue, and memory impairment.
What Is The Treatment For Tick
- Lyme disease: Patients treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely, says Dr. Moscovitz. Antibiotics commonly used include doxycycline, amoxicillin or cefuroxime axetil. Patients with Lyme disease may require follow-up with a specialist, such as a rheumatologist, to treat chronic aches and pains that are due to inflammation.
- Anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever: Doxycycline is the first line treatment for adults and children of all ages.
- Babesiosis: Combination therapy with atovaquone and azithromycin is most commonly recommended for treatment of mild to moderate babesiosis. Treatment is usually continued for 7 to 10 days. A combination regimen of oral clindamycin and quinine has also been proven effective, but the rate of adverse reactions is significantly higher with this combination.
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The Rocky Mountain Wood Tick
In British Columbia, this tick occurs in the interior dry belt from the United States border north as far as Williams Lake and eastward into Alberta. It is not found west of the Coast Range mountains. The Rocky Mountain wood tick is a three-host tick, a new host being sought for each one of its three feedings which occur over a period of 1 to 3 years. Usually rodents and other small animals serve for the first two feedings, and large animals such as deer, cattle, dogs, sheep and humans serve as the host for the last feeding. This tick is most frequently encountered between March and June, usually in open, rocky areas.
|Rocky mountain wood tick female|
Although the Rocky Mountain wood tick is a known carrier of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and Colorado tick fever in the United States, these diseases rarely occur in Canada. However, in British Columbia and western USA this tick causes tick paralysis in mammals, including humans and livestock, which is caused by a neurotoxin in tick saliva.
|Life Cycle of Dermacentor andersoni|
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Transmission
RMSF is transmitted, or spread, through the bite of a tick thats infected with a bacterium known as Rickettsia rickettsii. The bacteria spread through your lymphatic system and multiply in your cells. Though RMSF is caused by bacteria, you can only be infected with the bacteria via a tick bite.
There are many different types of ticks. Types that may be vectors, or carriers, of RMSF include the:
- American dog tick
- Rocky Mountain wood tick
- brown dog tick
Ticks are small arachnids that feed on blood. Once a tick has bitten you, it may draw blood slowly over several days. The longer a tick is attached to your skin, the greater the chance of an RMSF infection. Ticks are very small insects some as small as the head of a pin so you may never see a tick on your body after it bites you.
RMSF is not contagious and cant be spread from person to person. However, your household dog is also susceptible to RMSF. While you cant get RMSF from your dog, if an infected tick is on your dogs body, the tick can migrate to you while youre holding your pet.
Treatment for Rocky Mountain spotted fever involves an oral antibiotic known as doxycycline. Its the preferred drug for treating both children and adults. If youre pregnant, your doctor may prescribe chloramphenicol instead.
If it isnt treated right away, RMSF can cause damage to the lining of your blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Complications of RMSF include:
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Ticked Off About Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Yet even with all that good knowledge about avoiding Lyme, it might come as a surprise to learn that in 2017 a National Capital Region park visitor fell ill quickly with a rash and encephalitis ascribed to a tick borne disease called Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is not a new condition, but it is in a category of illnesses that have increased during the last decade. It can be a severe or even fatal illness if not treated in the first few days of symptoms. Typical symptoms include: fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, and muscle pain. A rash may also develop, but is often absent in the first few days, and in some patients, never develops. Caught early though, like many tick borne diseases, it can be treated with antibiotics.
Besides the surprise of the time of year this occurred, its also interesting to note that RMSF is carried not by blacklegged ticks, but instead by dog ticks. Yes, dog ticks. The same gross, yet seemingly innocent type of tick that winds up legs in the air like a small dark grape on your kitchen floor after falling off the family dog. Who knew dog ticks even carried anything that humans needed to worry about?!
How Is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Diagnosed
When your dog is examined, your veterinarian may find the clinical signs listed above. Since these signs are non-specific, a history of tick exposure or possible tick exposure will help in the diagnosis of this disease.
The first step that your veterinarian will take to determine what is causing your dogs illness will be to perform basic blood tests and possibly a urinalysis or X-rays. Abnormal findings on a complete blood count usually include low numbers of platelets or red blood cells , and abnormal white blood cell counts. In the early stages, the white blood cell count will be low, but in the later stages of the disease, the white cell count may be increased. Tests to measure blood clotting ability may also be run. In addition, biochemical tests will often show low protein levels, abnormal calcium levels, electrolyte abnormalities, and abnormal liver or kidney values.
“…a history of tick exposure or possible tick exposure will help in the diagnosis of this disease.”
Other tests such as a PCR or a spinal fluid tap can be done but are less sensitive to picking up a diagnosis.
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Lyme Disease Diagnosis And Laboratory Testing
Lyme disease is diagnosed based on the presence of symptoms, a physical exam, the possibility of exposure to infected ticks and, if necessary, laboratory testing. If your health care provider suspects Lyme disease, you may be asked to provide a blood sample for testing.
Public health and laboratory experts in Canada, the United States and worldwide support the 2-step testing used in Alberta as the best laboratory method for supporting the diagnosis of Lyme disease. These high standards help protect individuals from misleading false-positive results and unnecessary treatments.
In Alberta, laboratory testing for the first step is done by the Provincial Laboratory for Public Health. The second verification step is done by the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg to reduce the chances of false-positive results.
The Alberta government advises against the use of laboratory testing offered by some private laboratories outside of Canada. Some of these laboratories use non-standardized testing methods. These methods may report a higher number of false-positive results.
False positives can result in misdiagnosis that can lead to a delay in finding the actual cause of an individuals illness, as well as unnecessary, expensive and sometimes harmful treatments.
A 2014 study found that one alternate United States laboratory had incorrectly diagnosed Lyme disease in up to 57% of healthy people who did not have Lyme disease.
How To Remove A Tick Safely
Although the risk of Lyme disease is very low in Alberta, there are other tick-borne diseases that can be transmitted by ticks.
It is important to properly remove a tick as soon as possible. Removing a tick 24 to 36 hours after a tick bite usually prevents Lyme disease from developing.
If a tick is attached to your skin, you can safely remove it.
- Using tweezers, gently grasp its head and mouth parts as close to your skin as possible to avoid leaving mouthparts in the skin or crushing the tick.
- Without squeezing the tick, slowly pull the tick straight up off the skin do not jerk or twist it.
- Do not apply matches, cigarettes, dish soap, petroleum jelly or any other substance to the tick. This will not encourage the tick to detach and may cause it to release infectious blood back into the wound.
- Once the tick has been removed, clean the bite area with soap and water and disinfect the area with an antiseptic. Wash hands with soap and water.
- Consider submitting a photograph of the tick to the Submit-a-Tick program.
- If you do not plan to submit a photograph of the tick to the Submit-a-Tick program, you can kill the tick by placing it in a freezer for 24 hours, or putting it in rubbing alcohol. Once killed, dispose of it by flushing it down the toilet, or placing it in the garbage. Avoid crushing a tick with your fingers as they may be filled with blood and other infectious material.
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What Should You Do If You Find A Tick
Don’t touch the tick with your bare hand.
Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Grab the tick firmly by its mouth or head as close to your skin as possible.
Pull up slowly and steadily without twisting until it lets go. Don’t squeeze the tick, and don’t use petroleum jelly, solvents, knives, or a lit match to kill the tick.
Save the tick. Place it in a plastic container or bag so it can be tested for disease, if needed.
Wash the bite area well with soap and water and put an antiseptic lotion or cream on the site.
Species Of Ticks In Hawaii
The prevalent species on the island are the Brown Dog Tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus Latreille and the Spinose Ear Tick Otobius megnini. What needs to be acknowledged is that ticks carry many different diseases, not just Borrelia, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Brown dog ticks are mostly known to carry and spread diseases affecting canines, but they have more recently been shown to carry and transmit at least one disease that impacts human health: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever otherwise referred to as RMSF.
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What To Do After You Come Indoors:
During tick season, always check your clothing for ticks. Ticks can be carried into buildings on your clothing. If you find a tick, remove it. You can also dry your clothing on high heat to kill any hidden ticks.Do a thorough body check on your self and children after being outdoors. Use a hand-held mirror to view your skin. Remember to check the following places:
- Arms, ankles, toes, and legs
- Head, in and around your hair
- In and around ears