New Tick Disease Complicate Tick Control Options
When people mention ticks, most people’s first thought is: Lyme disease. But more dangers are posed by tick bites than just America’s fastest growing vector-borne disease.
Recently, Paul Auwaerter from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine wrote about two new tick-borne human pathogens that medical professionals were only just becoming aware of.
“Firstly, a new ehrlichial infection afflicted 4 patients in Minnesota and Wisconsin with a presentation typical of Ehrlichia species fever,” he wrote. Symptoms included: “headache, low white blood cell count, and low platelet count.”
What made this new infection interesting – and worrying – was that Ehrlichia muris, the bacteria causing this illness, was “not thought to infect humans and most interestingly was transmitted by the Ixodes scapularis tick, which is the same tick that transmits Lyme disease.”
Previously, Ehrlichia had only been reported in Lone Star ticks; meaning that this new human pathogen had twice the means of transmission.
The second report was from Emerging Infectious Diseases: “46 patients in Russia had a relapsing fever presentation. 10% of these patients had a rash that was similar to erythema migrans, and it seems that the infecting agent was Borrelia miyamotoi, which is a distant relative of Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme disease.”
“I want to extend a cautionary note,” he warns, however. “Some have taken the leap that these new pathogens in the tick gut might explain so-called "chronic Lyme disease"”.
“A number of trials of antibiotics, all of which we use to treat Ehrlichia species or even Borrelia species, have not been shown to be successful in patients who have had persistent symptoms from Lyme disease.”
“It is exciting that we are learning about new potential pathogens, and our commercial assays will need to catch up to give a better discrete diagnosis. However, this is not yet the explanation for many patients who unfortunately have persistent symptoms and are given antibiotics, probably inappropriately in many cases.”
This news is significant for homeowners because it serves as a reminder that Lyme disease is not the only danger of tick bites. Even in states in which deer tick are uncommon, or Lyme disease is largely not an issue, ticks pose a serious health risk for you and your family.
To prevent tick bites, you should talk to a tick control specialist like the experts from Aspenn Environmental Services. They’ll be able to perform a yard spray for ticks to help eliminate ticks from your property – and follow up tick spray treatments to help keep your property tick free all year round.
With tick bites posing much more of a danger than just the risk of Lyme disease, establishing a tick control program on your property is more important than ever; and could help protect the health of your entire family.