Who Gets Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can affect people of any age. People who spend time outdoors in activities such as camping, hiking, golfing, or working or playing in grassy and wooded environments are at increased risk of exposure. The chances of being bitten by a deer tick are greater during times of the year when ticks are most active. Ticks can be active any time the temperature is above 45° F. Young deer ticks, called nymphs, are active from mid-May to mid-August and are about the size of poppy seeds. Adult ticks are most active from March to mid-May and from mid-August to November and are about the size of sesame seeds. Both nymphs and adults can spread Lyme disease. Infected deer ticks can be found throughout New York State.
Where Do We Find Ticks
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.
Its Unclear How Long Ticks Must Be Attached To You To Transmit Infections
Should you happen to quickly find a tick embedded in your skin, dont assume you have no chance of contracting Lyme disease or another tick-borne infection.
The CDC states that a tick must be attached to a host for 24-48 hours to transmit Lyme disease. But a 2015 review stated that the minimum attachment time for transmission of an infection has never been established.
That study also brought to light six documented cases of Lyme disease that had been transmitted in less than 6 hours. Plus, the other diseases that ticks carry such as babesiosis and bartonellosis may occur within minutes after a tick has latched onto your skin.
What does this mean for you? While the transmission risks may be lower the less time a tick is attached to you, the risk isnt completely eliminated if you find an embedded tick and remove it before 24 hours has passed.
Also, keep in mind, many people may not know how or when they acquired a tick bite, making it very difficult to calculate the length of time it was attached for.
Read Also: Tick And Lyme Disease Facts
What Ticks Carry Lyme Disease
For most of the population, summers mean slathering on heavy sunscreen and protecting themselves against the harmful effects of the sun. However, the folks in the Northeast have more than just sunburn to worry about. As temperatures rise and residents begin to spend their time outdoors, Lyme disease caused by tick bites becomes a more pressing concern. Once you find ticks the next question is what ticks carry Lyme disease.
Just consider this: the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates around 300,000 cases of Lyme diseases every year. While undoubtedly alarming, the good news is that there are measures that you can do to prevent tick bites that cause Lyme disease. We tackle this and more in the guide below.
What Is The Treatment For Lyme Disease
Patients treated with antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover quickly and completely. Antibiotics commonly used for treatment include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil. Patients with certain neurologic or cardiac forms of illness may require additional treatment. It is important to speak with your health care provider if you think you might have Lyme disease. The best treatment for Lyme disease is prevention and awareness.
Also Check: How Do You Know If You Got Lyme Disease
How Is Lyme Disease Spread
Not all deer ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Ticks can become infected if they feed on animals such as mice and other mammals that are infected. The disease can be spread when an infected tick bites a person and stays attached for a period of time. In general, the tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours or more. Lyme disease does not spread from one person to another. Transfer of the bacteria from an infected pregnant woman to her fetus is extremely rare.
Is Protection Available Against Zika
There is no vaccine to prevent the Zika virus or medicine to treat the infection. If you must travel to an affected region, you should protect yourself against mosquito bites. The type of mosquito that transmits the Zika virus is most likely to bite in the daytime. Wear long sleeves and pants while outdoors and use an insect repellent that is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, such as one containing DEET.
Zika outbreaks have been reported in Mexico Central America South America in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, Aruba, Bonaire, and the U.S. Virgin Islands Cape Verde, off the coast of Africa the Pacific Islands of American Samoa, Samoa, and Tonga and parts of Florida. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Zika web site.
Symptoms: As The Infection Spreads
If the disease goes untreated in its early stages, over several weeks or months it can spread to other areas of the body like your:
- Nervous system
You could also have more rashes and periods of pain and weakness in your arms or legs. Other symptoms include:
- Facial muscle paralysis
- Inflamed brain and spinal cord
Preventing Tick Bites And Lyme Disease
There are several easy ways to protect yourself from an encounter with Lyme-transmitting ticks:
- Steer clear of areas that are known to have an infestation of ticksâlike tall grasses and leaf piles.
- If hiking in the outdoors, stay in the center of the trail.
- Wear protective clothing, like long-sleeve shirts, pants tucked into your socks, and appropriate shoes.
- Remove and inspect your clothing before and after moving through a high-risk area and examine yourself for ticks.
Read Also: Images Of Ticks That Carry Lyme Disease
Risk Of Disease From Mosquito And Tick Bites
The links above are to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Search the CDC website for information on any other insect-borne diseases that you may have heard about.
- EPA Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program Partners:
- Lyme Disease Association – Offers information about this non profit organization whose goals are education, prevention, and research funding. Includes articles on ticks, vaccines, and other useful information.
- American Mosquito Control Association – Organization enhancing the health and quality of life through the suppression of mosquitoes, other vectors and pests of public importance.
How Can Dr Killigans Help
Dr. Killigans is in the business of restoring peace and sanity to your homes. This includes bringing peace to your pets.
Six Feet Under is one way of doing that, as dogs are very susceptible to tick bites. Six Feet Under is a non-toxic spray that will ward ticks away from your beloved furry friends. Spray it on your pet before and after an outing into the deep, dark woods. Apply it on their cozy bed too. Together, lets keep those miscreants far, far away.
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How Ticks Find Their Hosts
Ticks can’t fly or jump. Instead, they wait for a host, resting on the tips of grasses and shrubs in a position known as “questing”. While questing, ticks hold onto leaves and grass by their lower legs. They hold their upper pair of legs outstretched, waiting to climb onto a passing host. When a host brushes the spot where a tick is waiting, it quickly climbs aboard. It then finds a suitable place to bite its host.
Where Are Ticks Found
The two types of ticks that carry Lyme disease are found in the following areas within the United States:
- The black-legged deer tick is prevalent in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and North-Central parts of the United States.
- The western black-legged tick is prevalent in the pacific coastal parts of the United States.
Its important to note, though, that ticks carrying Lyme disease have been reported in every climate, in every continent, including all 50 states. Theres no getting away from these little terrors.
The states with the most tick bites, and thus highest cases of Lyme disease reported, include Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maine, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Maryland, Connecticut, and Virginia.
Also Check: Preventive Treatment For Lyme Disease
How Big Are Ticks
In my mind, a tick is about the size of an apple seed. But, this is only true if it is an adult tick. Nymphs are about the size of poppy seeds and larvae are about the size of a grain of sand.
Most people with Lyme disease are bitten by the poppy-seed size of ticksthe nymphs. Adult ticks also carry the bacteria, but these apple-seed-sized ticks are much easier to see and remove .
Who Is At Risk
Many occupations may be at risk, including forestry, farming, veterinarians, construction, landscaping, ground keepers, park or wildlife management, and anyone who either works outside or has contact with animals that may carry ticks
Similarly, any person who spends a lot time outdoors , especially in grassy or wooded areas may also be at risk.
Also Check: How Long Do Lyme Disease Symptoms Last
What Do I Do If I Find A Tick On Me
There are quite a few myths that circulate about tick removal, including that you should remove a tick with a heat source, petroleum jelly, nail polish, or a chemical. Do you know whats true? Do you know what the best method is for tick-removal? We disclose the details in True or False: Bug Myths Revealed.
How Ticks Spread Disease
The tick feeding process makes ticks very good at transmitting infection:
- Depending on the tick species and its stage of life, preparing to feed can take from 10 minutes to 2 hours. When the tick finds a feeding spot, it grasps the skin and cuts into the surface. The tick then inserts its feeding tube. Many species also secrete a cement-like substance that keeps them firmly attached during the meal. The feeding tube can have barbs which help keep the tick in place.
- Ticks also can secrete small amounts of saliva with anesthetic properties so that the animal or person can’t feel that the tick has attached itself. If the tick is in a sheltered spot, it can go unnoticed.
- A blacklegged tick will attach to its host and suck the blood slowly for several days. If the host animal has certain bloodborne infections, such as the Lyme disease agent, the tick may ingest the pathogen and become infected. If the tick later feeds on a human, that human can become infected.
- After feeding, the blacklegged tick drops off and prepares for the next life stage. At its next feeding, it can then transmit the infection to the new host. Once infected, a tick can transmit infection throughout its life.
- If you remove a tick quickly you can greatly reduce your chances of getting Lyme disease. It takes some time for the Lyme disease-causing bacteria to move from the tick to the host. The longer the tick is attached, the greater the risk of acquiring disease from it.
Recommended Reading: Early Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Humans
How Does A Person Get Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected deer tick, which also is known as the black-legged tick. Immature deer ticks can be very small, about the size of the head of a pin adult deer ticks are slightly larger. Both can be infected with and transmit Lyme disease. Deer ticks acquire the bacteria by feeding primarily on small mammals infected with the bacteria, particularly the white-footed mouse. Deer ticks infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease have been found in Illinois. Areas in the United States where deer ticks are most frequently infected with Lyme disease are the northeastern United States , northern California, and north central states, especially Minnesota and Wisconsin. However, Lyme disease has been reported in almost all states in the United States as well as in many countries throughout the world.
Image source: /content/dam/soi/en/web/idph/files/pictures/babesiosis.jpg
Types Of Ticks That Carry Lyme Disease
Medically reviewed by Neka Miller, PhD on August 11, 2020. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
Around the world, there are hundreds of tick speciesâbut what ticks carry Lyme disease? Letâs take a closer look at the specific types of ticks that carry Lyme disease, where and when theyâre found, how you can help prevent tick bites, and how to test for Lyme disease from home if you are bitten.
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How To Protect Yourself From What Ticks Carry Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can cause many health problems that range from inflammation of the joints to neurological and heart problems. And because immunity thru a vaccine to Lyme disease has yet to be developed and administered to people, you need to take on a more active role in keeping yourself and your loved ones safe against tick bites.
But how exactly can you protect yourself from Lyme disease? Prevention is one way not to worry about what ticks carry Lyme disease. To get you started, weve listed down the following guidelines:
Symptoms Diagnosis And Treatment
Symptoms of Lyme disease vary and may develop days or weeks after a person is infected from a tick bite. Early symptoms may include:
- An expanding skin rash that looks like a bulls eye may develop at the site of the tick bite in 70 to 80 percent of infected persons. Some people may not develop a rash.
- Fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue or swollen lymph nodes.
- Later symptoms may include more rashes, dizziness, abnormal heartbeat, arthritis, mental confusion or inability to think clearly , nervous system disorders .
Getting a diagnosis of Lyme disease can be difficult as your symptoms may be similar to other illnesses. Inform your health care provider of any travel outside of the province and whether you have developed a rash around a recent tick bite.
Prevention and early diagnosis of Lyme disease are important. Consult a health care provider as soon as possible if you are bitten by a tick and develop symptoms of Lyme disease. The earlier you receive a diagnosis and treatment, the better your chances to make a full recovery.
Your health care provider should:
- review your symptoms
- find out if you were in an area at risk of having Lyme-infected blacklegged ticks
- do a physical examination and
- order laboratory blood tests to see if you have certain antibodies that could indicate you have the disease.
Information on Lyme disease is also available on HealthLine Online by typing Lyme Disease in the health topic search.
Recommended Reading: Is Lyme Disease Cured With Antibiotics
Can Lyme Disease Be Transmitted To Humans By Mosquitoes Horse Flies And Deer Flies
Although Borrelia burgdorferi-like organisms have been observed in mosquitoes, horse flies, and deer flies in areas where Lyme disease is endemic, these organisms have not been cultured to verify their identity. Experiments attempting to transmit B. burgdorferi from infected to uninfected laboratory animals by mosquitoes have not been successful . Furthermore, epidemiological studies have shown that the date of onset for Lyme disease occurs in June, coincident with the peak abundance of nymphal Ixodes scapularis ticks, and not during August when mosquitoes and other biting files are at peak abundance . Despite findings of B. burgdorferi in other tick species such as the American dog tick and the lone star tick in the field, laboratory transmission studies have confirmed that these tick species cannot transmit the infection to laboratory animals thus, they are not competent vectors for Lyme disease . Both experimental and epidemiological studies have shown that Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus are the only tick species in North America that are capable of transmitting B. burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease, to humans. Please consult the Lyme Disease Risk Assessment Map on the home page of the ALDF website for specific information on the incidence of Ixodes ticks as well as the numbers of reported cases of Lyme disease for individual States.
1. Magnarelli, LA, and Anderson, JF. J. Clin. Microbiol. 26: 1482-1486, 1988.
What About Kissing Holding Hands Sharing Tooth Brushes Or Spoons Or Drinks
In my opinion and based on what I see in my practice I do not believe Lyme is spread through kissing, touching, or sharing of tooth brushes, eating utensils like forks, or drinks. However, in my review of the scientific research data base I do not see that any research has been conducted looking at these ways of spreading Lyme.
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What Tests Are Available For Lyme Disease
When a person becomes infected, the body creates antibodies to protect itself from the bacteria. Certain blood tests are available to measure these antibodies. However, sometimes a “false negative” test can result if there are not enough antibodies in the blood for the tests to detect accurately. A doctor should also do a complete medical examination and gather information about your recent outdoor activities in order to make a clinical diagnosis for Lyme disease.
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.
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