This may be an especially bad summer for Lyme disease, according to disease ecologists. This disease is caused by a spirochete transmitted by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.
Why Will 2017 Be a Bad Summer?
Why are experts worried that 2017 might be intense? The spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, includes white-footed mice as well as white-tailed deer and black-legged ticks in its life cycle. The population of mice in northeastern states has just exploded. As a result, the chance of being exposed to an infected tick has increased as well.
Lyme Disease Is Spreading:
Lyme disease is usually associated with New England states such as Connecticut where it was first identified and named. Pennsylvania and New Jersey also have significant numbers of cases, however. In fact, the disease has spread far beyond New England, westward and southward. So there is a good likelihood it will be a bad summer for Lyme in nearly half of the country.
Approximately 300,000 US residents may be infected every year. Lyme disease can cause serious complications if it is left untreated, but prompt treatment with antibiotics can usually eliminate the pathogen.
Experts recommend daily tick checks and removal of any ticks with tweezers. Wearing insect repellent is smart when you are out in the woods, but remember that deer ticks happily hang out in yards as well. The young ones are tiny, no bigger than a poppy seed, so the tick check needs to be extremely thorough. Parents should check their children. When you find a tick, don’t freak out or use flames or Vaseline. Just use a tick removal tool or a simple tweezer to pull it straight out, gripping it as close to the skin as possible.
If you develop a rash or fever, be sure to tell the doctor about your tick bite. See the doctor if you have such symptoms even if you don’t remember a tick biting you. In a bad summer for Lyme disease, it’s better to be cautious.