Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rise of Tick-borne Diseases

"The little buggers are stealthy, feed on blood, and can transmit a variety of dangerous bacteria... for example, Lyme disease, for which ticks are the only known transmitter, is the most notorious. Lyme affects 300,000 Americans every year — 10 times higher than previous estimates."

"What other tick-borne diseases are there? More, it seems, every year. Among them are the Heartland virus, which can trigger fever and liver abnormalities; babesiosis, which mimics the symptoms of malaria and has increased 20-fold in the lower Hudson River Valley since 2001; and perhaps worst of all, Powassan disease, which kills about 10 percent of its victims and leaves 50 percent of its survivors with lasting neurological damage."

"Currently, there is no vaccine for Lyme disease or other tick-borne
illnesses, which is why health experts say that prevention is critical."

"Deer ticks live for an average of two years and have three main life stages: larval, nymphal, and adult. During the winter, ticks usually become dormant. But warmer winters have seen ticks breeding throughout the year, increasing the populations of larvae and nymphs in the spring. Warmer and moister air may also extend the life cycle of ticks, so that nymphs — the stage most likely to transmit infections — continue to be active all summer. Lyme disease rates have shot up accordingly. Research shows that warmer temperatures may also be expanding tick habitats, and extending their life cycle to three years."

"Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can affect humans, dogs, cats and other mammals. Its primary carrier is the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis), which often
feeds on rodents in its early stages. Later, the tick can attach to a dog or human and transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease."

My Comment:
It behooves all of us to keep the tall grass and brush at bay. And keeping rodents and deer to a minimum is essential / which means not putting feed out for birds that attract them. Keeping your dogs and cats treated against fleas and ticks is a must.