Diseases Caused by Ticks
As parasitic creatures, ticks pose potentially serious threats to humans and other host animals. Ticks often pass disease-causing pathogens into the bloodstreams of the hosts on which they feed. Common tick varieties often transfer bacteria, parasitic worms, and viruses from an infected host to an uninfected one. Most notably, ticks are frequent carriers of Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Infection can be avoided with the prompt removal of ticks, as the pests may wait up to a day and a half before transferring bacteria to hosts. Other precautionary measures include keeping yards free of overgrown vegetation and wearing pants, long sleeves, and repellents containing DEET or Permethrin when traveling through wooded, grassy areas favorable for ticks.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
The most severe disease transmitted by ticks, RMSF causes several symptoms including fever, nausea, headache, muscle and joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea and most notably, its namesake rash consisting of small red spots and blotches that begin on the wrists, ankles, palms, and soles. Most prevalent between April and September, the disease is severe enough that the majority of those infected require hospitalization.
A distinct bulls-eye shaped rash is often a good indicator of Lyme disease, although it is not necessarily a symptom which always appears. Lyme disease initially produces fever, weakness, headache, chills, and muscle and joint pain, but exhibits later symptoms that include arthritis or meningitis. In the United States, most cases of Lyme disease occur in southern New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the northern Pacific coast.
- Deer Tick Virus
- Lyme Disease
- Powassan Disease
- Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness
- Tick Paralysis