Displaying items by tag: ticks

Thursday, 02 May 2019 13:24

Spring Pre-TICK-ament

Each Spring, along with the warmer weather, come the ticks. These tiny blood-sucking creatures are a growing economic and health problem. Their masterful knack for survival leaves continued vigilance our only real defense. 

Here a Tick, There a Tick

Ticks were here on Earth long before humans. Classified among spiders and scorpions as members of the arachnid, there are 840 species of these eight-legged parasites worldwide, 90 of which reside in the continental United States.

As recently as 2017, a new tick species was found in New Jersey – the Asian long-horned tick. One of the oldest known tick specimens (as recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records) is a 90-million-year-old bird tick preserved in amber and unearthed in April 1999 from a vacant lot in Sayreville, New Jersey. 

Today, living among ticks is a predicament because of the illnesses they spread. 

Who’s Getting Sick

As many as 14 different diseases are contracted from a tick’s bite and include the Powassan Virus, Rocky Mountain Fever, Anaplasmosis and most commonly in this region – Lyme disease (which accounts for 72 percent of all tick-related illnesses. 

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in North America (examples of other vector-borne diseases found worldwide include Dengue fever, West Nile Virus, and malaria). 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in the U.S. 2017 had the highest number of Lyme disease cases yet – 42,743 of which 5,155 were from New York State and 121 from Saratoga County. 

CDC statistics indicate that in the last 15 years, men are getting Lyme disease more often than women. Children ages 5 to 14 years old and adults ages 45 to 60 years old make up the majority of these cases.

Take Evasive Action

The good news is that when patients with Lyme disease are treated with antibiotics in its early stages, they recover rapidly and completely. 

Here are 5 Ways to Defend Yourself Against Lyme Disease:

1. Adopt a friendly view of reptiles, amphibians, opossums and birds because they all consume ticks in quantity. 

2. Ticks can only spread disease after being attached to a host for more than 36 hours so if you find one (on you or your pet), remove it quickly and completely with tweezers. 

3. The best place on the body to look for ticks is around the ankles, but taking a shower and searching everywhere (including through your hair) is recommended after being outdoors.

4. Look for the tiniest ticks (young ticks known as nymphs) because they are the most likely to transmit Lyme disease.  Although only 25 percent of nymphs carry the Lyme-causing bacteria, they are responsible for more cases than adult ticks because they are so hard to spot and it’s hard to feel them biting you. 

5. Lyme disease symptoms appear between three and 30 days after a bite and include a bulls-eye rash (in at least 60-percent of cases), headache and fever. 

For more information, go to www.cdc.gov/ticks/index.html

Published in Home & Garden
Friday, 01 September 2017 10:14

New York State Monitoring for Tick-Borne Illnesses

This week, the New York Department of Health released information regarding their surveillance efforts in Saratoga County for ticks testing positive for tick-borne illnesses. Of the 2,700 ticks collected for testing in 2017, 22 ticks from five locations, tested positive for Powassan, including ticks collected at Saratoga National Historical Park. 

The Powassan virus is a rare viral disease that can cause symptoms ranging from mild flu-like symptoms to life threatening encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). The disease remains extremely rare in New York State with only 26 confirmed cases since 2000. Only three confirmed human cases of Powassan virus have been identified in New York State this year, all located in Saratoga County. 

The Department of Health plans to continue their surveillance and testing in the fall with the collection of adult ticks from many of the same sites, as well as collection and testing of blood from hunter-killed deer for previous exposure to Powassan. Additional education programs for hunters, school districts, and libraries will be developed through various state offices. 

The Center for Disease Control advises people to use insect repellent when going outside. Walking in the center of trails and avoiding high grass and brush at trail edges will also reduce your chances of encountering ticks. Check for ticks daily on yourself, your children, and your pets and shower soon after being outdoors. If you do find an attached tick, carefully remove with fine point tweezers and watch for symptoms. Consult with your doctor if any symptoms arise. 

For more information about tick safety and tick-borne illnesses, see the CDC’s website on ticks: www.cdc.gov/ticks. -

Published in News