Chances of Lyme Disease After an Infected Deer AKA Blacklegged Tick Bite in Bedminster, NJ

According to a new research paper, if you are planning to visit a national park this season, especially one in the Eastern states you should take precautions to protect yourself from the dangers of Lyme disease. Blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) also commonly referred to as bear ticks or deer ticks infected with Lyme disease were found in nine national parks including: Manassas National Battlefield Park, Prince William Forest Park and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Acadia National Park in Maine; Catoctin Mountain Park and Monocacy National Battlefield in Maryland; Fire Island National Seashore in Long Island, N.Y.; Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania and Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C.

Human Lyme Disease Infection Cases

While medical professionals have long suspected that infected ticks were in these areas due to the many cases of human Lyme disease infections, this is the first time that researchers have been able to confirm that ticks found in these parks are vectors for Lyme disease. According to a spokesperson from the C.D.C (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) the numbers of Lyme disease cases are increasing both in the geographical range and numbers of infections. An astonishing 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease are reported each year in the United States and these numbers are expected to climb.

Ticks that Carry Lyme Disease

A tick is extremely well adapted to carry and spread Lyme disease. Spirochetes, the spiral-shaped bacteria responsible for causing Lyme disease have co-evolved with the tick population over a period of millions of years. Nymphal (juvenile) ticks spread the majority of Lyme disease infections as they are small, about the size of a poppy seed with a painless bite. In fact most people don’t even realize they have been bitten. The saliva of the tick contains a series of immune suppressors that help circulate bacteria throughout the host’s body. Ticks feed on a wide variety of animals which gives them the uncanny ability to spread the disease quickly.

How Long Does it Take a Tick to Transmit Lyme Disease to a Human?

Ticks become infected with Lyme disease after feeding on an infected animal such as a rodent. Once infected, ticks spread the disease to the next animal or person they bite. Many experts disagree about the length of time it takes a tick to transmit Lyme disease. Scientists at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) believe that a tick must be attached to the human host for 24 hours or more while other researchers indicate that nymphs (juvenile ticks) can spread Lyme bacteria in less than 24 hours. While the risk of infection may be lower in the first 24 hours it’s certainly not impossible and should be cause for concern. Other studies indicate that only 30% of the individuals infected with Lyme disease even remembered being bitten by a tick. The longer a tick stays attached, the more likely it will be to transmit disease. If you find a tick on your body it is very important that the tick is removed as soon possible.

Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms

Symptoms of Lyme disease include headache, fever, and a bullseye shape rash which can occur anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the initial tick bite. If left untreated, the infection can spread and infect the joints, nervous system and heart.

Lyme Disease Prevention

To prevent infection from Lyme disease carrying ticks follow these simple tips:
• Use insect repellents that contain at least 30% DEET. Apply to exposed areas of skins and clothing. For added protection use permethrin based products on clothing, backpacks, and shoes.
• Never sit or lean on logs when out walking on trails.
• Check yourself and your belongings carefully for ticks. Pay particular attention to folds of skin such as your underarms and groin.
• Shower within two hours of returning home.
• Put clothing in the dryer and heat on a high setting for ten minutes to kill ticks that may have become hidden in clothing.

Tick Control in Your Home & Yard

The odds of contracting Lyme disease from an infected tick bite may be low but why risk it? For information regarding tick prevention, control and removal, contact the knowledgeable experts at Merlin’s Pest Control today.

Comments for this post are closed.