Archive for category Types of ticks

Lyme Disease Awareness Month is in Full Swing

May not only brings spring flowers, but also Lyme Disease Awareness Month, a month that is near and dear to Dread Skeeter and the rest of the Mosquito Squad team.

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracksLyme disease is an illness that affects a large portion of the east coast. Take the quiz below to test your knowledge of Lyme disease (the answers are the bottom of the post).

1)      What is Lyme disease?

  1. A disease that can affect the heart
  2. A topical rash that appears on the body
  3. A disease that can affect the body’s neurological functions
  4. A flu-like virus that can cause fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and join aches as well as swollen lymph nodes.
  5. All of the above

2)      How is Lyme disease contracted?

  1. By drinking contaminated water
  2. Via improperly cooked food
  3. Through spiders carrying the disease
  4. Via the bite of an infected tick
  5. Via the saliva of an infected dog

3)      In what parts of the country is Lyme disease most prevalent?

  1. East Coast
  2. Midwest
  3. Northeast
  4. South
  5. Southeast
  6. Southwest
  7. West Coast

4)      Approximately how many Americans have been diagnosed with Lyme disease since the CDC because tracking cases in 2002?

  1. 100,000
  2. 275,000
  3. 535,000
  4. 746,000

5)      How can homeowners reduce exposure to Lyme disease?

  1. Utilize plants and shrubs that don’t attract deer
  2. Keep tall grasses away from the home entrance and edges of the lawn
  3. Create a barrier between wooded areas and entertainment/play areas
  4. Keep the yard clean and free of debris
  5. Perform a daily tick check
  6. Treat with a barrier spray
  7. All of the above

6)      Which of the following notable Americans has been treated for Lyme disease?

  1. George W. Bush
  2. Lady Gaga
  3. Tiger Woods
  4. Hilary Clinton
  5. Rosie O’Donnell

7)      In what season is one more likely to contract Lyme disease?

  1. Spring
  2. Summer
  3. Winter
  4. Fall
  5. all

Answers:             1-5, all of the above

2- 4, via the bite of an infected tick

3 – 2 & 3 Midwest and Northeast

4 – 2, more than 275,000 Americans have been diagnosed with the disease since 2002

5 –  7, all of the above

6 – 1, George W. Bush (treated in 2006)

7 – 1 & 2, infected ticks can bite at any time, but late spring and early summer is considered the most likely time to contract the disease

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Animal Paralysis due to Ticks?

dog-tick-paralysisIf you read this blog, you know that I am a huge dog lover (come on, look at that face). I make sure that my four-legged companion is fed correctly, has the right amount of exercise and gets the necessary shots and medicine to keep him strong and healthy. There are some ailments, however, that are difficult, if not impossible, to prevent and one can be caused by the dreaded tick.

I recently read an article about a dog that started displaying disturbing symptoms. An otherwise healthy dog all of a sudden started losing control of her legs. Seeing the animal get worse, it ended up being diagnosed as tick paralysis and after removing more than 4 ticks from the dog, it was able to fully recover.

Tick paralysis is a relatively common illness that mostly affects cows and sheep, but has been known to affect dogs and some humans. Tick paralysis occurs when a tick attaches and feeds for an extended period of time. A female tick causes the disease with toxins in the salivary glands. Weakness in the legs is usually the first symptom and begins 2-7 days after the tick bite. The symptoms can worsen very quickly, spreading to the trunk and head within hours, but rarely ends in death.

The treatment for tick paralysis is simple: remove the attached tick. Unlike other vector-borne diseases, tick paralysis isn’t caused by a virus or bacterium that stays in the body long after the parasite is removed. Instead, it’s a chemical reaction to the tick, so when the tick is properly removed, the symptoms fade quickly.

Although it is most common in dog and Rocky Mountain ticks, over forty species of ticks are known to cause tick paralysis. The best way to protect your animals from the dangers of ticks is to protect them as best you can. Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray, misting systems and tick tubes are a few ways to protect your property and animals against ticks (and mosquitoes of course!). All of our services aim to get mosquitoes and ticks before they have the opportunity to bite.

Tick control in your yard isn’t always enough to protect some of your pets from ticks, especially dogs that may go hiking with their owners. For example, although I protect my property from ticks, I still give my dog a topical medication because we hike and walk in wooded areas where ticks are known to be. Additionally, it’s imperative that you check your animals for ticks on a daily basis during tick season to ensure they don’t have time to attach and transmit any dangerous diseases.

If you have questions regarding any of our tick and mosquito control services, reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Lyme Disease App – helping to prevent and fight Lyme disease

I never thought that I would download a Lyme disease application on my phone, but the American Lyme Disease Foundation (ALDF) proved me wrong. At the end of last summer, the ALDF released an iPhone app title “Lyme Disease Tick Map” to educate people on the dangers of Lyme disease ways to prevent it. At Mosquito Squad, we have seen some crazy tick and mosquito control phone apps, but haven’t been very impressed, but I have to say this app has some pretty cool tools inside.

Here is the icon for the ALDF's iPhone app

Here is the icon for the ALDF’s iPhone app

When you open the Lyme Disease Tick Map application, it gives you a table of contents for an easy way to find information. Here’s what it offers:

Tick Map. It is just what it says. The application will read where you are currently located and tell you how likely you are to be bitten by an infected tick. For example, I am located in Richmond, VA and it tells me that right now it is rare that I would be bitten by a tick infected with Lyme. The scale goes from no ticks to an abundance of ticks.

How to Prevent Lyme Disease. This section provides the user with bullet points on how to avoid tick bites (and thus Lyme disease), including wearing the appropriate clothing and better areas to walk if you are spending time outdoors.

ALDF's app provides information through the table of contents

ALDF’s app provides information through the table of contents

How to Identify a Tick. For those people who live in areas with several species of ticks, this section of ALDF’s app is really helpful. It includes images of the most common types of ticks for quick comparisons. In the deer tick section (deer ticks are the only ticks that transmit Lyme disease), the images are clickable so you that you can see the differences between larva, nymph, male and female ticks and it will tell you which ones are most likely to bite and spread Lyme.

How to Remove a Tick. There are a ton of theories regarding the best way to remove an attached tick. Unfortunately, several of them not only don’t help, but may increase your chances of getting Lyme. This section of the app provides both a video and a step-by-step guide covering how to remove the tick properly.

Duration of Attachment. The longer a tick has been feeding, the more likely it is that Lyme disease has been transferred to you (if the tick is infected). It can be difficult to know, however, how long a tick has been attached (I don’t know about you, but I don’t look at the back of my knee all too often). The duration of attachment section show pictures of ticks at different stages of attachment so the user can compare the photos and decide if they need to see a doctor.

Lyme Disease Symptoms. This section is not for the squeamish! It shows pictures as well as describes different symptoms of Lyme.

Find a Physician. I’m not sure how doctors get listed on ALDF’s app, but when I pressed it, it provided me the name and contact information for a local infectious disease doctor.

Helpful Links. There are links to other helpful organizations that provide information on Lyme disease.

About the App. You guessed it, this section provides the background on the app.

The app as a whole is a pretty good reference tool for ticks and Lyme disease, especially if you have been bitten and aren’t sure what type of tick bit you, how long it has been there and how to remove it. At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients against tick bites and Lyme disease with a combination of our barrier spray and tick tubes. Professional tick control will help fight off ticks before they can bite and infect you.

If you have questions regarding tick control on your property, please call your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Battles Lyme Disease

Hello, my name is Jane and I am a reality TV addict. There is something about this mindless genre that pulls me in and never ceases to entertain me. As someone who is heavily invested in the lives of complete strangers and follows everything mosquito and tick related, it is no surprise that I have been following the recovery of one Real Housewife of Beverly Hills as she battles Lyme disease.

Ticks Populations increase

Tick populations are on the rise, make sure you keep close attention when spending time outdoors

For those of you who aren’t up to date on all things RHOBH (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), Yolanda Foster is the newest member of the franchise. She’s a former model who is currently married to songwriter David Foster. Last month, Yolanda began tweeting (@YolandaHFoster) about her battle with Lyme disease. After 18 months with less than normal energy, Yolanda was diagnosed with Lyme. Since announcing her diagnosis, she has been tweeting about all stages and symptoms of her battle. When she had a port implanted to provide intravenous antibiotics, Yolanda tweeted a picture from the hospital.

Lyme disease is transmitted through tick bites and can manifest itself through numerous symptoms, thus making it difficult to diagnose. While the bull’s-eye rash is a clear cut sign of Lyme, other symptoms are the same as the common cold or flu, like fatigue, fever, headaches, etc. Many patients can go months without the right treatment. As the number of confirmed cases have grown the last several years, it’s important to make note if you have come in contact with ticks so that you can tell your doctor. For those families who spend a lot of time outdoors, tick control for your yard may be necessary.

While Yolanda is the latest to share her journey, other celebrities have battled Lyme disease including:

  • Alec Baldwin,
  • Ben Stiller,
  • Daryl Hall,
  • Jamie Lynn Sigler,
  • Christie Brinkley,
  • Andy Cohen,
  • Alice Walker,
  • Amy Tan,
  • And George W. Bush.

We at Mosquito Squad wish Yolanda the best in her recovery and thank her for sharing her story.

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East Stroudsburg University Selling Tick Testing Kit

Vector-borne diseases, like Lyme disease and West Nile, have been on the rise in recent years. When it comes to tick bites, we at Mosquito Squad suggest people remove ticks promptly and place them in a plastic bag in case it needs to be tested. East Stroudsburg University (ESU) in Pennsylvania is taking it one step further and selling tick testing kits that people can get before a tick bite happens. Once bitten, the kit tells you how to remove the tick properly and offers to test the tick for you.

The testing kit, called Lyme-Aid, is now being sold online at http://www.lymeaidkit.com/. It sells for $5.99 and includes a tick remover, alcohol wipes, specimen bag and forms and preaddressed envelope to the ESU testing center. An additional fee of $39.95 is due for testing.

Small tick on finger

The tick is a vector of many illnesses and disease, so small yet so dangerous.

ESU researchers see this as a win-win for both the general public and East Stroudsburg University. Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed and sometimes the bacterium stays in the body for months before the patient displays any symptoms. With Lyme-Aid, a person can send a tick in for testing before any symptoms may present themselves. If the test comes back positive, the patient can decide whether or not to seek treatment from their doctor.

The benefit for ESU is not only to help the general public with efficient testing, but also with research. By receiving samples directly from the field, ESU can effectively study the spread of Lyme disease through testing deer ticks. They hope to get tick tests from across the country to gain more knowledge.

Melissa Shaw, co-founder of Lyme-Aid explains that it’s “main purpose is to educate the community about the disease. It was developed with the collaboration of about 20 students over a two-year period.” Source.

2012 brought a rise in the number of ticks this spring and an increase in the number of confirmed Lyme disease cases. This year was the first time that I, my husband and my dog all had ticks on us at one time or another and we don’t even spend time in places where ticks harbor. At Mosquito Squad, we offer tick control through barrier sprays and tick tubes, but it doesn’t mean that you will never get a tick bite, especially if you spend time outdoors at athletic events, hiking and more. Lyme-Aid kits would be great to have handy just in case you find a tick on you. It’s a step towards being more proactive about Lyme.

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New Tick Borne Disease Discovered in the Heartland

In a summer that has brought us a record number of West Nile and Lyme disease cases, researchers have discovered a new tick-borne disease in Missouri, the Heartland virus.

Two farmers, whose properties are sixty miles apart in Missouri, independently sought treatment after experiencing fever, fatigue, headache and nausea. Blood tests showed very low platelet counts in both cases.

According to WebMD Health News “The first patient spent 10 days in the hospital. Two years later, he’s still feeling tired and often has headaches. At first he had memory problems and loss of appetite, both of which slowly got better.

‘The second patient was in the hospital for 12 days. Over the next four to six weeks he had memory problems, fatigue, and loss of appetite. All of these symptoms went away and did not come back over the next two years.”

Both men told doctors that they had been bitten by ticks prior to the symptoms starting. Dr. Scott Folk of Heartland (hence the name) Regional Medical Center sent samples from both patients, along with others, to the Centers for Disease Control for testing in 2009. “’Whenever he sends us a sample, we pay attention because we are likely to find something.’ Nicholson says.” Source.

And find something they did. Microscope analysis revealed the new Heartland virus. “We’re pretty excited about it,” says Nicholson. “It’s not every day you find something new.”

Lone-Star-Tick-Hearland-Virus

Lone Star ticks, defined by the white mark on its back, are believed to be transmitting the new Heartland Virus.

The new tick-borne disease is believed to be transmitted by the Lone Star tick as it’s the most common tick in the state of Missouri. No ticks carrying the virus have been found in tests yet more cases are expected.

At Mosquito Squad, we know that the best way to protect yourself against vector-borne diseases is to minimize the chances for those buggers to bite you. Our effective mosquito and tick control helps our clients do that without being forced indoors. If you have questions on how to get rid of mosquitoes and ticks on your property, please call your nearest Mosquito Squad office.

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Senator Wants National Lyme disease Strategy

As the United States continues to fight the increase in ticks this year and the diseases they can carry, Rhode Island’s Senator, Jack Reed, is hoping to bring more attention to Lyme disease and move towards developing a national strategy to combat it:

“Lyme disease is a serious health problem and infected ticks are being found in greater numbers in Rhode Island and other parts of the country. It is important for people to be aware and know what they can do to protect themselves and their families. We also want to ensure doctors and nurses have the latest tools and training they need to properly diagnose and treat patients. I am working to boost federal research and coordination to help prevent Lyme disease and strengthen surveillance of tick-borne illnesses.” Source.

Reed has been working with national and local experts to research Lyme. According to Professor Thomas Mather, director of the URI Center for Vector-Borne Disease and Tick Encounter Resource Center, tick surveillance shows a 142% increase is deer tick populations over the last 5 years in Rhode Island (80% up over last year).  Additionally, the CDC reported a 16% increase of reported Lyme disease cases through mid-May this year as compared to 2011.

Reed’s Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education and Research Act would:

  • Establish a tick-borne disease advisory committee,
  • Coordinate increased research and development around Lyme disease
  • And increase education through community-based education.

The best way to battle Lyme disease is to minimize your risk of being bitten by an infected deer tick. At Mosquito Squad, we recommend the 6Cs of treatment:

  1. Clear out. Reduce your tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic. Separate them with wood chips or gravel. Don’t position playground equipment, decks and patios near treed areas.
  2. Clean. Eliminate leaf litter and brush by cleaning it up around the house and lawn edges, mow tall grasses and keep your lawn short.
  3. Choose plants. Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area.
  4. Check hiding places. Know tick hiding places and check them frequently. Fences, brick walls and patio retaining walls are popular hiding places.
  5. Care for family pets. Family pets can suffer from tick-borne disease and also carry infected ticks into the home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick collars and sprays. As with all pest control products, be sure to follow directions carefully.
  6. Call the pros. Professionals utilize both barrier sprays that can kill live ticks on the spot as well as “tick tubes.” Strategically placed, “tick tubes” prompt field mice to incorporate tick-killing material in their bedding, effectively eliminating hundreds of tick nymphs found in each mouse nest.

If you are interested in learning more about tick control for your yard, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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