With Lyme Disease in humans becoming an epidemic in many Massachusetts cities we want to make sure you know everything you need to know about Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. While Lyme Disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the area and gets quite a bit of news coverage, we are at risk for other tick-borne diseases here too. With all tick-borne disease on the rise it is more important than ever to protect yourself and your family. Knowing which ticks carry Lyme Disease and knowing which ticks carry other tick-borne disease is part of knowing how to prevent Lyme Disease and other tick-borne disease.
Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis and Powassan Virus are increasingly more common in Massachusetts, making ticks one of the most dangerous pests you can come across in your Fall River yard.
With Mosquito Squad of Fall River we can eliminate 85-90% of ticks in your yard all season long. Our traditional barrier spray eliminates ticks on contact and continues to work for up to 3 weeks with a special time-released formula. We start around the perimeter of your property and work our way in paying special close attention to the cool, shady, damp places where ticks like to hide. For additional protection we can place tick tubes on your property twice a year to eliminate larval and nymph ticks when they are nesting with their rodent hosts during the cooler months.
Since spending time in unprotected areas hiking, camping and being adventurous is unavoidable, it is important to know what to look for in case a tick should happen to bite you. Tick-borne diseases are mostly treatable and if caught early your prognosis is very good. Since ticks are so tiny, this early detection is often the problem.
There are many tick-borne diseases. Here is a list of the illnesses that can be carried by ticks in the Fall River area:
Lyme Disease is caused by a bacteria transmitted by the common deer tick (black-legged tick). In Massachusetts, Lyme Disease in humans has become an epidemic thanks to our high deer population and moist wooded climate. Adults love to hang out in thick brushy areas, tall grass and leaf piles. If you have a fence or retaining wall they will hang out at the base where it is cool and damp. Small deer ticks can be as small as a grain of coffee, so checking for them on your skin and clothes when you go inside is imperative.
About 70-80% of Lyme Disease cases show a red, expanding rash at the site of the tick bite, often referred to as a bulls-eye rash. The rash usually appears within 3-30 days of being bitten. Fatigue, fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint aches are also symptoms of Lyme Disease in humans. If left untreated patients may experience Bell’s Palsy, severe headaches and stiff neck due to meningitis, shooting pains, pain and swelling in large joints or heart palpitations and dizziness due to a change in the hearbeat.
Oral antibiotics are the prescribed treatment for Lyme Disease. There are however some patients who may have to be hospitalized for intravenous antibiotics if they have a certain cardiac or neurologic illness.
Coming in 2nd and 3rd to Lyme Disease for the number of cases in Massachusetts, Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis are a real tick-borne threat. While less common than Lyme, these two are dangerous and sometimes even deadly. Preventing tick exposure and tick bites is critical, but knowing the signs and symptoms to look for is key should you happen to fall victim to a tick bite.
Transmitted by the deer tick – same as Lyme – both diseases are prevalent in the northeastern and the upper Mid-west of the United States. Symptoms of Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis are very similar flu-like symptoms:
Anaplasmosis is caused by a bacteria. Treatment for Anaplasmosis is antibiotics and when caught early is very successful. Anaplasmosis can be fatal for those with a compromised immune system such as those being treated with chemo therapy or if it is not treated correctly. Symptoms of severe Anaplasmosis can include kidney failure, neurological problems, difficulty breathing, or hemorrhage.
Babesiosis is caused by microscopic parasites. Infecting red blood cells, these parasites can cause a special type of anemia called hemolytic anemia. Watch for jaundice (yellow skin) and darkening of the urine. Babesiosis can be specifically dangerous or life-threatening to people who don’t have a spleen, are elderly, have a weakened immune system, or who have other serious health conditions.
In 2013 the number of cases of Babesiosis in MA rose 40% from the year before, including 2 fatalities. Babesiosis was identified in every county in our state. The number of Anaplasmosis cases in MA in 2013 rose slightly from 2012, but experienced a 60% increase from 2011 to 2012. If you think you have contracted either Babesiosis or Anaplasmosis contact your doctor right away.
Ehrlichiosis is actually transmitted by the Lonestar tick which is usually found in the southeastern and southcentral United States. Despite the usual location of these ticks, Massachusetts is seeing more Lonestar ticks with warmer temperatures. The term Ehrlichiosis is a broad term that covers several different related infections. The three bacteria that fit under the term are Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Ehrlichia ewingii and Ehrlichia muris. The symptoms of Ehrlichiosis develop within 1-2 weeks of being bitten by an infected Lonestar tick.
Varying from patient to patient, symptoms of Ehrlichiosis may include:
Ehrlichiosis can be fatal if not treated properly, even in previously healthy people. Those with a compromised immune system seem to develop more serious illness and have a higher rate of fatality. Difficulty breathing or bleeding disorders can be symptoms of a more severe case of Ehrlichiosis.
Antibiotics are the treatment of choice for Ehrlichiosis. If the case is particularly severe or is caught late, it may require intravenous antibiotics.
Help Mosquito Squad of Fall River help you keep your yard free of ticks by following the 6 C’s of Tick-Proofing your yard.
1. Clear out
Reduce your exposure to ticks by clearing out lawn debris. Ticks thrive in moist shady areas. Keep compost piles away from recreation or high traffic areas.
Mow your grass regularly, keeping it nice and short. Clean up grass clippings and leaf litter to avoid giving ticks a place to stay cool and moist.
3. Choose plants
Deter deer by choosing plants that are not attractive to them, or install physical barriers such as fencing to keep them out. Check with your local nursery to determine the best deer repelling plants for your area.
4. Check hiding places
Ticks love to hide along the bases of fences, brick walls and patio walls. Check those hiding places frequently to eliminate ticks that may have gathered.
5. Care for family pets
Pets can be infected with tick-borne diseases too. They also can carry infected ticks into the home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick medication. As with all pest control products, follow the directions carefully.
6. Call in the Pros
Mosquito Squad of Fall River can eliminate 85-90% of the ticks in your yard with our traditional barrier spray plus the addition of tick tube placement twice a year. By eliminating ticks on contact as well as eliminate nymph ticks where they nest, exposure to ticks in your own yard will be significantly lowered.
Contact us today to sign up for tick control in Fall River. Call 508-536-4855