Deer tick questing in grass.
Tick Identification Preventing Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases
- Tick Borne Diseases
- Lyme Disease
- Deer Tick Identification
- Deer Tick Life Cycle
- Lone Star Tick Rash (STARI)
- Tick Mis-Identification
- Preventing Tick Bites
- Safe Tick Removal
- Tick Management
- Tick Identification Resources
|Lyme||Bacterium||Black Legged Deer Tick|
|STARI*||Bacterium||Lone Star Tick|
|Tularemia||Bacterium||Lone Star, American Dog|
|Ehrlichiosis||Bacterium||Lone Star, American Dog, Black Legged Deer Tick|
|CO Tick Fever||Virus||Rocky Mt. Wood|
|Babesiosis||Protozoan||Black Legged Dear Tick|
|Tick Paralysis||Toxin||Lone Star, American Dog|
STARI* - Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness
RMSF**- Rock Mountain Spotted Fever
Lyme Disease is caused by a bacterial spirochete carried by the black-legged deer tick. It is the most common arthropod-borne disease in the United Stated. The risk of Lyme Disease appears to be increasing in some areas such as Illinois.
- Affects humans and dogs but not deer or rodents
- Incubation: 3 - 32 days, transmission occurs in less than 24 hours
- Non-specific and variable symptoms
- Most cases improve, some deteriorate
- If diagnosed early, treatment with antibiotics is generally successful
Lyme Disease: Clinical Stages - First Signs
- Stage 1 - "Bulls-eye" rash in about 75% of cases, flu-like illness without cough
- Stage 2 - Affects skin, musculoskeletal, nervous system, lymph, heart, facial palsy and meningitis
- Stage 3 - Chronic arthritis or encephalitis
Black Legged Deer Ticks - Primary Transmitters of Lyme Disease
Black Legged Deer Tick Hosts
Larva: Small rodents such as the White-Footed mouse, chipmunks
Nymph: Small rodents, dogs, humans
Adult: Deer, occasionally horses and humans
Peak Tick Activity Occurs April through mid-July
Black Legged Deer Tick Life Cycle
Larvae hatch in the summer
Nymphs emerge the following spring
Adults emerge in fall, oviposit eggs in spring
Nymphs are capable of transmitting the most disease to humans during their appearance in spring and early summer. Most Lyme disease transmission to humans occurs from nymphs infected the previous season from small rodents such as the the white footed mouse.
"STARI" also known as Lone Star Tick Rash (Mimics Lyme rash)
Female & Male Lone Star Ticks
Lone Star Tick is MUCH more common in the southern 2/3 of the Southern United States. Early symptoms of STARI (Borrelia lonestari) are similar to the first symptoms of Lyme disease. The same antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease is prescribed to treat STARI.
Tick Misidentification - Black Legged Deer Tick or Lone Star Tick?
Both the stages of both tick are very similar in size and appearance.
|Black Legged Deer Tick||Lone Star Tick|
Preventing Tick Bites
- Avoid woodlands especially in spring
- Wear light colored clothing, tuck pant legs into socks or boots
- Walk in middle of paths away from dense vegetation
- Wear repellents containing DEET 20-30 percent
Tick Feeding and Pathogen Transmission
- First 48 hours: Tick penetrates and prepares bite site. After 48 hours: Rapid uptake of blood. Probability of Lyme disease transmission is very low during the first 48 hours of feeding but rapidly increase after 48 hours. Always check for and remove ticks as soon as possible.
Update: Previously, Lyme disease transmission to humans was thought to take a minimum of 36-48 hours for an infected tick attached to a human host. This study suggests that health care providers and individuals exposed to ticks should be aware that transmission of Lyme disease can and does occur more rapidly than previous animal models suggested. See: Research Findings from Diagnostic Microbiology, November 2011 issue.
Safe Tick Removal
- Use forceps or tweezers
- Grasp the tick close to the skin
- Pull out S-L-O-W-L-Y and steadily
- Do not squeeze the tick
- Use antiseptic on the bite
- Wash hands
- Treat pets with flea and tick medications
- Eliminate, trim and/or treat vegetation along paths and forest borders
- Fence yards to keep out deer and other animals
- Several residual insecticides can be applied to ecotones along the edge of the densely vegetated areas
- Use cotton balls impregnated with insecticide. Mice will use the cotton balls as nesting material, and the insecticide protects mice against ticks.
Tick Identification Resources
University of Nebraska: U. of Nebraska: http://entomology.unl.edu/images/ticks/ticks.htm
Tick Management Handbook, Connecticut Experimental Station: http://caes.state.ct.us/SpecialFeatures/TickHandbook.pdf
Authors Linn David Haramis and Curt Colwell are medical doctors, part the Illinois Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Division
Say hello and connect with Curt at +Google
Lyme Disease Symptoms risks, getting tested, treatment options.