The present scenario is such that ticks are found everywhere in the yards and outdoors all across Pennsylvania and Indiana County. As there are warmer winters, the dormant period for reproducing and proliferating is pretty short. Ticks are, in fact, amongst the dangerous pests of these counties.
The black legged deer tick (better known as Ixodes scapularis) is the one commonly seen in the area. It does transmit Lyme disease, Powassen virus, babesosis, and anaplasmosis. It has been observed that 50% of the ticks in Indiana County do carry the bacteria that are the cause of Lyme disease. As such, there are certain guidelines laid down for those whom a tick has bitten.
- The tick should be gasped with tweezers, so as to remove it. Pulling upwards works; rather than twisting or jerking. There do exist special tools for removing ticks.
- That particular area should be cleaned with soap or alcohol.
- It’s advisable to take tick to the doctor for lab testing.
What’s with the CDC?
The CDC recommends usage of the antibiotic named “prophylaxis”. It comes across as a doxycycline pill for adults, along with weight-adjusted dose of the same for kids.
Lyme disease does show certain symptoms. If they persist, it’s better to see the doctor. The symptoms are inclusive of erythema migrans/target skin rash, facial palsy or irregular heartbeat, and swelling in one or more joints. Blood tests will confirm Lyme disease. If found positive, antibiotics would be needed for 2-4 weeks. This generally does away with the infection. Those who get “Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome” may require a specialist for treatment and advice. It rarely happens that people continue to have symptoms even after a few months.
Of late, several patients have been found with anaplasmosis. A black legged tick carries the bacterium that causes it. Unfortunately, the disease, in spite of being severe, carries no specific signs. The common signs could be headache, fever, muscle pains, vomiting, and malaise. The severe outcomes could be respiratory failure, kidney failure, and numerous blood disorders that could result in abnormal clotting and bleeding. An early diagnosis would certainly mean recovery through antibiotics. Experts say that a tick biting you could give rise to both – anaplasmosis and Lyme disease. As such, Indiana Regional Medical Center carries out screening for both the diseases even if the patient contracts one.
New Ticks on the Block?
Pennsylvania has also seen the outbreak of Powassen viral infection (that results in encephalitis) and babesiosis (causing abnormalities in kidney, liver, and blood).
New entrant on this count is the lone star tick (known as Amblyomma americanum). Climate change is forcing it to migrate northwards (into mid-Atlantic). The disease it causes is “ehrlichiosis”. The symptoms are analogous to anaplasmosis. It also results in allergy called “alpha-gal syndrome”. Researchers state that this tick does induce an allergy to carbohydrate that is found in muscle of lamb, deer, pigs, and cows. This, in turn, drives second thoughts regarding consumption of meats and meat products like milk and cheese.
Overall, Lyme disease is something that falls in the category of “Prevention is better than Cure”.