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Tick Bites… what are we at risk for here in Kentucky?

University of Kentucky entomologist, Blake Newton discusses the concept of more ticks in Kentucky in his blog. However, most of what he says is that no one is really sure if there are more ticks, and if there are, no one is really sure why. However there does seem to be evidence that there may be and at Mosquito Squad of Louisville we are certain that they could affect you, your home, your pets, and your children.

Types of Ticks in Louisville

Ticks carry disease, we know this. But there are different kinds of ticks and different kinds of diseases in different parts of the country. The CDC lists 7 types of disease-carrying ticks in the United States. In Louisville, we are concerned with three.

American Dog Tick, Dermacentor variabilis
American Dog ticks are larger and more visible than some of the others. In adulthood, they commonly attack humans and pets and are probably the most common encountered in Kentucky. The carry Tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Lone Star Tick, Amblyomma americanum
Lone Star Ticks are common in Kentucky as well, but different from the dog tick, they are very tiny – maybe the size of a seed. They too carry Tularemia, as well as Ehrlichiosis and STARI.

Blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis
Also known as deer ticks, these are small, brownish in color and often hard to see. They carry Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, and Powassan virus.

*According to CDC maps, the Brown dog tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus can also be found in Kentucky, but there are multiple factors other than only the presence of ticks in the transmission of disease and these do not pose a risk here.

Tick-Borne Diseases in Louisville

Tularemia
Someone with this disease can show symptoms within 3 to 14 days of exposure. There are several different forms of Tularemia and they can attack the skin, eyes, lungs, or lymph nodes. Ulceroglandular is the common form caused by tick bites. Its symptoms include swollen ulcers at the site of the insect bite, chills, headache, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion. When detected early Tularemia can be treated with antibiotics but left untreated can be fatal, leading to inflammation of the lungs, infection in the brain, irritation around the heart, or infection in the bone.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
RMSF symptoms can appear from within a week to 14 days. Symptoms include high fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, nausea, and insomnia. It usually, although not always, comes with a very distinctive rash that begins around your wrists and ankles. It responds well to antibiotics, but a lack of treatment can cause serious damage to your kidneys, brain, heart, and lungs. Blood vessel damage leading to amputation is also possible and if left untreated, it can eventually lead to death.

Ehrlichiosis
It may take up to 14 days to begin to see symptoms of Ehrlichiosis. Flu-like symptoms are typical: fever, chills, headaches, muscle and joint pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, rash, cough, and confusion. This too will be treated with antibiotics. Lack of treatment can result in kidney, respiratory, and heart failure, seizures, and coma.

Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is one of the more talked about tick-borne diseases in the United States, but possibly not as common in Kentucky. Symptoms of Lyme include chills, fever, muscle and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes. The CDC states that 70-80% of cases will develop a bullseye-shaped rash. Treatment with antibiotics generally leads to a full recovery. Left untreated chronic Lyme can occur. The symptoms of this include spread of the rash, Bell’s palsy, nerve pain, inflammation of the brain, severe headaches, arthritis, and shortness and breath with dizziness.

Anaplasmosis
These symptoms appear within 1-2 weeks. They can include fever, headaches, abdominal pain, malaise and confusion, cough, muscle pain, and abdominal pain. Treated with antibiotics, patients should recover quickly, however, untreated this can be fatal. Severe problems can include kidney failure, breathing difficulty, and neurological problems.

Babesiosis
Symptoms of Babesiosis are similar to the above-mentioned illnesses, flu-like with fever, chills, headaches, body aches, fatigue. However this tick-borne disease is different than the others in that it is not a bacteria but rather a parasite that infects and destroys red blood cells. It can be very severe for those with weak immune systems and serious health issues. Complications include low blood pressure, anemia, blood clots and bleeding, and possible death. Treatment for asymptomatic persons is often not required and decisions for treatment should be made per individual.

Powassan virus
Powassan is a virus. The CDC states that many people who become infected do not develop symptoms, however, it can take up to a month for symptoms to show after a tick bite. Symptoms include fever, weakness, headache, vomiting, seizures, confusion, coordination and speech difficulties. Pow virus can also cause inflammation of the brain and membranes around the spinal cord by infecting the central nervous system. Pow virus can be fatal and can cause permanent neurological issues, such as headaches, muscle wasting, and memory loss. There is no medication to treat this infection, however, treatment of the symptoms may be necessary.

STARI – Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness
With little known information about STARI and its origin, it is diagnosed based on the possibility of a tick bite and symptoms displayed. An expanding rash similar to the Lyme disease bullseye rash appears with a headache, fever, and muscle pains. According to the CDC, it is not known if antibiotics are necessary but do to the similarity of this rash to that of the Lyme disease rash they may be administered.

Each of these diseases has the potential to be harmful, obviously some more than others. If you have been bitten by a tick, it is suggested that you make note of the date and the appearance of the tick. Keep an eye out for symptoms and if they begin to occur contact your doctor immediately.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

At Mosquito Squad of Louisville we know that by eliminating the pest we can help prevent the disease. Our barrier treatment spray will eliminate 85-90% of the ticks in your yard on contact for up to 3 weeks. Combined with our tick tube system and the 6 C’s of tick proofing your yard, we can work together to make your yard a safe place for your pets and your family. Contact us today for a quote. We stand behind every service with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. 502.315.9097

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* Tick control not available in MI without a license

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