Posts Tagged tick removal

Vermont Launches Tick Tracking Website to Protect Population

A few weeks ago we posted about a CDC study estimating that Lyme disease is a much larger problem than the confirmed cases show. In 2011, there were over 24,000 confirmed cases, with 96% of them happening in just 13 states, Vermont being one of them. The Vermont Health Department is fighting the bite by offering a new tick tracking website.

Small tick on finger

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

Vermont reported 500 cases of Lyme disease in 2011 and just over 350 last year. To help educate the public on tick activity, they launched a website allowing the public to report where they’ve noticed tick activity, “’Once you report ticks in your area, it shows up on a map so that everyone can know where they might want to take extra precautions when spending time outdoors,’ said the Health Department’s Erica Berl, an infectious disease epidemiologist. ‘It’s not too late to report – adult ticks are most active in the spring and fall.” Source.

The website, found at http://webmail.vdh.state.vt.us/vttracking/TickTracker/TickTracker.html, displays the different areas of tick activity on a map of the state. Small tick images are color coded bases on the type of tick reported. Hovering over the tick image will initiate a pop up that provides details on the report including, location, date, number of ticks found, how it was observed (on clothing, pet, etc) and a general comments field. One report included “Lyme positive” which must have come from someone who had recently been diagnosed. Looking at the map, a resident can easily identify a few pockets where numerous deer ticks (Lyme carrying ticks) have been reported.

The page also links to a “Be Tick Smart” guide that shows images of the different tick species, Lyme disease information, an illustration on how to remove a tick, and other handy information.

The tick tracking website is a great way to educate and increase tick awareness, especially in a state that has a large number of tick-borne illness reports each year.

Tick Bite

Engorged tick

Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected deer tick. Here are some helpful tips to protect against tick bites and Lyme disease:

  • If you have seen ticks on your property, reach out to a professional tick control company like Mosquito Squad. We will get to the ticks, before they get to you.
  • When spending time outdoors in unprotected areas, wear light colored pants and long sleeved shirts. Loose clothing is harder to bite through, but ticks are also easier to see on light colors than dark.
  • Do a full body tick check after coming inside any time you’ve spent time outdoors, even if you did wear pants and long sleeves. Ticks are sly pests and can weasel their way to your skin if given the chance. Be sure to check areas like your armpits and behind your knees.
  • If you have been bitten by a tick, remove it properly with tweezers (here’s a guide from the CDC) and put it in a plastic baggie if possible. Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose because of its flulike symptoms, so having the tick itself makes it easier. The ticks can be tested for the Lyme bacteria.

If you’ve been bitten by a blacklegged (deer) tick, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have Lyme. Not all deer ticks carry the disease. Also, if you are sure that the tick has been embedded in you less than 36 hours, your chances of having Lyme are slimmer. The key is to be observant and take note of any symptoms you may start to display including fatigue, joint pain or the telltale bull’s-eye rash.

If you have any questions on tick control for your yard, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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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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