Summer is here, it’s tick season and alarms are being raised for Lyme disease, with a worrying increase in the numbers of cases found. As estimated by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Lyme disease affects around 300,000 people in America, with 10% of the population claiming they know someone with long-term symptoms.
It’s spread by a species of ticks, called the blacklegged tick in America, commonly also known as “deer tick”, and it seems they have spread wildly within the last couple of years. They are more prevalent during the summer season, after passing larva stage usually in late spring.
Diagnosing is perhaps the biggest problem surrounding the most significant illness they can spread through bite, Lyme disease. It is unfortunately still an unknown matter that its inception can start with a simple stroll through the woods or walk through the park.
A higher number of ticks are being tested due to the increased spreading of Lyme disease and cautions is raised for the general population so they can know how it to identify it. People who walk through grassy areas are warned to check their bodies, particularly their hairline, for the blood-sucking parasite at the end of the day.
Ticks are not born with the ability to spread the disease, which makes it a bit more difficult for them to be called the main culprit. They require blood meals in order to move from one stage of their life to another. That implies latching on and sucking on the blood of other animals. The tick contracts Lyme disease from its victim and then it becomes able to further spread the bacteria to its next host.
While it’s popularly believed that deer are the central cause, thus the name “deer tick”, researchers have observed that they only hold a 1% out of the many possibilities. The most likely carriers are white-footed mice, birds, foxes or sheep.
Another issue could be that tick bites are hardly ever felt and it’s difficult to pin-point the day you were bitten. While some cases present with a red rash, others don’t, which prevents early on diagnosis that is crucial with Lyme disease.
Symptoms could take between 2 and 30 days to appear, and it can present with the more usual signs of fatigue, headaches and joint pain. Other tale-telling consequences could be the inability to sleep, digestion problems and issues with hearing, seeing or coordination. Most of which can be attributed to other, more common causes, which makes it even more difficult to detect.
The reasons theorized behind the increase of Lyme disease cases could possibly be blamed on less deer control or global warming. Warmer winters could allow ticks to survive the colder season and keep the bacteria active along while reproducing more frequently.
However, summer undoubtedly remains their most active seasons and people are asked to seek out medical testing if they encounter any of the symptoms in themselves or their children after being bitten by a tick.
Image source: macleans.ca