Author Topic: i hate ticks  (Read 3457 times)

sky otter

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i hate ticks
« on: August 08, 2014, 06:24:43 AM »

Bad bite: A tick can make you allergic to red meat

AP 18 hr ago By MARILYNN MARCHIONE of Associated Press

A bug can turn you into a vegetarian, or at least make you swear off red meat. Doctors across the nation are seeing a surge of sudden meat allergies in people bitten by a certain kind of tick.

This bizarre problem was only discovered a few years ago but is growing as the ticks spread from the Southwest and the East to more parts of the United States. In some cases, eating a burger or a steak has landed people in the hospital with severe allergic reactions.

Few patients seem aware of the risk, and even doctors are slow to recognize it. As one allergist who has seen 200 cases on New York's Long Island said, "Why would someone think they're allergic to meat when they've been eating it their whole life?"

The culprit is the Lone Star tick, named for Texas, a state famous for meaty barbecues. The tick is now found throughout the South and the eastern half of the United States.

Researchers think some other types of ticks also might cause meat allergies; cases have been reported in Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Japan and Korea.

Here's how it happens: The bugs harbor a sugar that humans don't have, called alpha-gal. The sugar is also is found in red meat — beef, pork, venison, rabbit — and even some dairy products. It's usually fine when people encounter it through food that gets digested.

But a tick bite triggers an immune system response, and in that high-alert state, the body perceives the sugar the tick transmitted to the victim's bloodstream and skin as a foreign substance, and makes antibodies to it. That sets the stage for an allergic reaction the next time the person eats red meat and encounters the sugar.

It happened last summer to Louise Danzig, a 63-year-old retired nurse from Montauk on eastern Long Island.

Hours after eating a burger, "I woke up with very swollen hands that were on fire with itching," she said. As she headed downstairs, "I could feel my lips and tongue were getting swollen," and by the time she made a phone call for help, "I was losing my ability to speak and my airway was closing."

She had had recent tick bites, and a blood test confirmed the meat allergy.

"I'll never have another hamburger, I'm sure," Danzig said. "I definitely do not want to have that happen to me again."

In Mount Juliet near Nashville, Tennessee, 71-year-old Georgette Simmons went to a steakhouse on June 1 for a friend's birthday and had a steak.

"About 4:30 in the morning I woke up and my body was on fire. I was itching all over and I broke out in hives. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before," she said.

A few weeks later, for a brother's birthday, she ordered another steak. Hours later she woke "almost hysterical" with a constricted throat in addition to hives and a burning sensation. She, too, recalled tick bites.

Dr. Robert Valet at Vanderbilt University said Simmons was one of two patients he diagnosed with the meat allergy that day. He warned her it could be worse next time.

"I never did eat a lot of red meat anyway but when I go out I like a nice fillet. Right now I wouldn't even eat hamburger meat," Simmons said.

At the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, "I see two to three new cases every week," said Dr. Scott Commins, who with a colleague, Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills, published the first paper tying the tick to the illness in 2011.

One of the first cases they saw was a bow hunter who had eaten meat all his life but landed in the emergency department several times with allergic reactions after eating meat. More cases kept turning up in people who were outdoors a lot.

"It seemed something geographical. We thought at first it might be a squirrel parasite," Commins said. "It took us a while to sort of put everything together" and finger the tick, he said.

Dr. Erin McGintee, an allergy specialist on eastern Long Island, an area with many ticks, has seen nearly 200 cases over the last three years. At least 30 involved children, and the youngest was 4 or 5. She is keeping a database to study the illness with other researchers.

"It is bizarre," she said. "It goes against almost anything I've ever learned as an allergist," because the symptoms can occur as long as eight hours after eating meat, rather than immediately, and the culprit is a sugar — a type of carbohydrate — whereas most food allergies are caused by proteins, she said.

Allergic reactions can be treated with antihistamines to ease itching, and more severe ones with epinephrine. Some people with the allergy now carry epinephrine shots in case they are stricken again.

Doctors don't know if the allergy is permanent. Some patients show signs of declining antibodies over time, although those with severe reactions are understandably reluctant to risk eating meat again. Even poultry products such as turkey sausage sometimes contain meat byproducts and can trigger the allergy.

"We don't really know yet how durable this will be" or whether it's lifelong, like a shellfish allergy, Valet said.

The meat allergy "does not seem to be lifelong, but the caveat is, additional tick bites bring it back," Commins said.

Michael Abley, who is 74 and lives in Surry, Virginia, near Williamsburg, comes from a family of cattle ranchers and grew up eating meat. He developed the meat allergy more than a decade ago, although it was only tied to the tick in more recent years.

"Normally I can eat a little bit of dairy," he said, but some ice cream landed him in an emergency room about a month ago. He admitted having had recent bug bites.

"I'm surrounded by ticks here," he said.



Where ticks live:

Tick info and advice:


Offline The Seeker

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Re: i hate ticks
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2014, 06:54:10 AM »
sky, I greatly dislike the little blood sucking parasites also;

 fortunately, I haven't been bitten by one in quite some time; also make a habit of checking my self thoroughly after being outside for any length of time...

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Offline Norval

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Re: i hate ticks
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2014, 07:35:13 AM »
Why is it just about everything I used to love to do, eat, and got over quickly,  as a kid is now deadly or harm full to me?!?!

Someone/thing has really screwed up this world, , , hmmmmmmm
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Offline burntheships

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Re: i hate ticks
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2014, 08:16:17 AM »

Someone/thing has really screwed up this world, , , hmmmmmmm

Makes one does.

Is this a mutation of some sort, from GMOs, or
pesticides, or pollutions? Or, created in a lab

Reminds me of Lyme Ticks disease, created on
Plumb Island.

One theory—compelling but controversial—about the sudden emergence of the disease in Connecticut blames the accidental release of infected ticks during experiments at Plum Island Animal Disease Center, on Long Island Sound about eight miles south of Lyme.
Originally operated by the U.S. Army, then by the Department of Agriculture, and now by the Department of Homeland Security, the facility's
official mandate is defense research relating to agricultural bioterrorism.
A book by Michael Carroll called Lab 257 cites post-World War II experiments on Plum Island that involved using ticks as disease vectors for germ warfare.
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Offline WarToad

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Re: i hate ticks
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2014, 09:23:13 AM »
I grew up in the middle of a heavily forested rural area.  Growing up in summers, Mom picked ticks off us literally almost every day.  Hundreds and hundres of tick bites through my childhood.  I consider myself very lucky to never have contracted any disease.  But Mom was good about making sure we all had our shots.

But, yea. I hate the little buggers.  I hate mosquitos more though.  One in Malaysia gave me Dengue Fever.    That was a very rough couple of weeks until I recovered.  There wasn't any vaccine for it at the time. (I still don't think there is one)  A decade later I met an Army physician at a dinner party who was working on the vaccine and she was surprised and actually thrilled to meet someone who had gone through the disease.  There with a glass of wine and some appitizers she asked if she could draw my blood later to take a look at my antibodies.  LOL!  (I did a few weeks later.)
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Offline burntheships

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Re: i hate ticks
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2014, 09:43:33 AM »
    There with a glass of wine and some appitizers she asked if she could draw my blood later to take a look at my antibodies.  LOL!  (I did a few weeks later.)


LOL! That is too funny, serious but funny.


Whoa on getting the fever though, I have heard that is one
terrible thing to go through.

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Offline WarToad

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Re: i hate ticks
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2014, 09:55:30 AM »
It was absolutely horrible.  Cycling between sweating and then the chills, pounding headaches, pain in my spine and hands,  nausia and vomiting until you only had dry heaves which continued for hours, constant fatigue and weakness, itchy rash, and it lasted like a week and a half of that every day.  Then I relaped 2 more times in the following year.  Thank God I was young and resilent.  Nasty nasty little virus.  Wouldn't wish it upon anyone.
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Offline burntheships

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Re: i hate ticks
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2014, 10:04:11 AM »
It was absolutely horrible. 

Wow, what you describe is just as they describe it in the books, wrenching
Thank God I was young and resilent.  Nasty nasty little virus.  Wouldn't wish it upon anyone.

Yes, that is really something to be thankful for,
very happy your alive to tell about it!

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space otter

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Re: i hate ticks
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2014, 09:00:35 PM »


Doctors in Kansas discover new tick-borne illness they dub 'Bourbon virus'

The CDC worked with the University of Kansas Hospital after a man died this summer from a tick bite. They named the virus after the county in which the man lived.

BY  Meredith Engel     / 
 Tuesday, December 23, 2014, 11:53 AM

non movable video at link,,,sorry

A new tick-borne virus is responsible for killing a Kansas man this summer, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said.

John Seested, of Fort Scott, died from organ failure after he was bitten by a tick. Standard tick-borne illness tests at the University of Kansas Hospital came back negative, and Seested did not respond to traditional therapies.

"It was very frustrating. That's one of the biggest problems with my job, which I love: when we can't answer those questions, when we can't help the patients or their families," Dr. Dana Hawkinson, an infectious disease physician at the university hospital, told

But researchers at the hospital and the CDC have now determined a tick-borne illness did kill Seested  — just a previously unknown one. They dubbed it the "Bourbon virus" after the county in which the patient lived.

"We continued to push and have concerns as to why this happened," Hawkinson said. "The CDC was on board with us and was able to help us with that and we've now identified this new virus."

pic at link

A new tick-borne illness has been discovered in Kansas, named the ‘Bourbon virus’ after the place a victim had lived.

The CDC is now investigating other deaths to see if they could have been a result of the Bourbon virus.

Symptoms of tick-borne illness include a high fever, strong headache, muscle aches and nausea.


Rare tick-borne disease hits New York area

Liam Brennan, 13, came down with the illness earlier this season, but has since made a full recovery. His doctor warns parents to pay attention if their child develops flu-like symptoms.

BY  Meredith Engel     /
Published: Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 2:57 PM
 / Updated: Friday, August 1, 2014, 10:19 AM

13-year-old Liam Brennan was diagnosed with Borrelia miyamoto.

A scary new strain of an illness similar to Lyme disease has made it to our area, but thankfully, the only child in New York ever reported to have this form of the illness has made a full recovery.

Water Mill resident Christine Brennan’s 13-year-old son, Liam, was recently treated for Borrelia miyamotoi.

"We are the first of something — not something you want to be the first of, I guess," Brennan told The News.

Liam was playing in a wooded area near his home in Water Mill over Memorial Day weekend when he noticed a tick on his rear end. He had had Lyme disease three times in the past and didn't have the trademark bulls-eye rash that often accompanies the illness, so Christine didn't worry at first.

But 10 days later, Liam came down with a 105-degree fever and an excruciating headache. He went to Riverhead Hospital and was ambulanced over to Stonybrook so a pediatric infectious disease expert could study him.
"They really didn't know what it was (at first)," Brennan told The News. "Thank goodness we knew he had the tick on him 10 days earlier."

Brennan’s physician at Hampton Pediatrics, Dr. Nadia Persheff, said that she and other doctors were able to make a diagnosis quickly because they tested for the miyamotoi strain right away. Standard tests for Lyme disease miss this strain, she said.

“I think it’s important to let people know there’s other strains (of tick-borne illnesses),” Persheff said. “If you don't do the blood work immediately you can’t pick it up.”

Borrelia miyamotoi’s symptoms are different from those common to Lyme: Patients don’t get a bulls-eye rash or arthritis-like joint pains, and instead might have a severe headache, muscle aches and even anxiety

Quick-thinking doctors put Liam on doxycycline and he made a full recovery in two weeks.

Liam’s case was the first reported of Borrelia miyamotoi in New York. Persheff said the illness has probably existed for years, but because the test to confirm it is new, Liam’s is the first reported case. The incident was so rare that the health department called the Brennans and wanted to know more about Liam’s symptoms.

Doctors advised Brennan to use bug spray on her kids — Liam and 10 year-old Aidan — and to do tick checks on them every 12 to 24 hours. Brennan urges other parents to perk up their ears if their children start to feel sick. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause neurological complications.

"If (they) get any flu-like symptoms you have to assume (it's this) first because it has to be treated very quickly," Brennan said.

“We don't have the flu at this time of year,” Persheff added, “so if you get body aches, a headache and muscle aches, think that it could be this.”

video and pics at this link:

« Last Edit: December 23, 2014, 09:07:07 PM by space otter »

Offline Somamech

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Re: i hate ticks
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2015, 09:06:39 AM »

Space Otter Gardening  >:(

What gems did you bring to the table from the space faring trip LOL

I want some of those moon spuds either John Lear Talked about or someone... my memory fails me who said that... never forgot about them space spuds though mate ;)

My dad found a young peach tree my gran left in a pot which rooted it self last weekend and said he has hasn't tasted peache's like it in twenty years.  Oddly on this planet we pick fruit GREEN in commercial ventures. 

Can you believe it Space Otter? 

After faring the Space I would imagine this has to be the only planet where we pick our fruit green for no taste to sell that you have experienced Dear Otter ? 

 ;D ;D ;D

space otter

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Re: i hate ticks
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2016, 12:04:42 PM »

and  another death by tick

There's yet another reason to protect yourself from tick bites this summer. Health officials are warning people about a disease that can stop your heart.
By: Jeff Baillon
POSTED:JUN 26 2016 02:22PM CDT
UPDATED:JUN 27 2016 02:27PM CDT

(KMSP) - There's yet another reason to protect yourself from tick bites this summer. Health officials are warning people about a disease that can stop your heart.

Steve Stolz noticed something was wrong with his heart while he was walking up a hill. "It should be fine and something doesn't feel right," he remembered thinking.

His heart was beating at a much slower rate than normal.  "That was enough of a warning to say we need to go to the emergency room," Stolz added.

Something was messing with the electrical system of his heart and it was something he came across out in the woods.

Fatal tick bite

The same organism attacked the heart of another Minnesota man last year.

"Nothing quite added up and so while they were trying to work out what was going on with him, unfortunately he ended up passing away," said Elizabeth Schiffman from the MN Department of Health.

That was Minnesota's first documented case of sudden cardiac death linked to the bite of a Lyme-infected tick.

The middle aged man from the Twin Cities had developed a rare condition known as "Lyme carditis".

It's caused by the same bacteria which triggers lyme disease.

"Sixty -five percent of patients with Lyme carditis are men and typically younger, age 15 to 40," said Dr. Alex Campbell from the Minneapolis Heart Institute. "Nobody understands why, but that's what we see."

In these cases, the bacteria, which are shaped like tiny corkscrews, burrowed their way into the heart muscle.

"Your body creates an inflammatory reaction against these to fight them off and the heart muscle or the conduction system gets caught in the cross fire," added Campbell.

As a result, the electrical signals which keep your heart beating short circuit. In extremely rare cases, a person's heart can slow to a stop or develop a dangerously fast rhythm that can also be fatal.

"The heart will stop pumping blood and you pass out and that's a sudden death," said Campbell.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it happened to a Massachusetts resident while driving.  The 2012 death was linked to Lyme carditis. The patient lived alone with a dog that was reported to have ticks frequently.

There were two more cases in 2013, including  a New York state resident who collapsed at home. The patient had no known tick contact but was reported to be a hiker.

Lyme carditis can be treated

The CDC reports only about one percent of the people who get Lyme disease, will develop Lyme carditis. There are about 15 known cases a year in Minnesota. The good news is it can be treated with anti-biotics and sometimes a temporary pace maker is needed too.

Once you give the antibiotics the bacteria die, the inflammation goes away and it does not come back. So there's no permanent effects of this on the heart," said Campbell.

Steve Stolz's heart is back to normal. He never suspected he'd been exposed to the Lyme bacteria.

"No tick found. No symptoms whatsoever. Nothing," he said.

Look for ticks on body

Not everyone gets severe body aches or a bulls eye shaped rash that are telltale signs of the disease.
"The faster you get the tick off the better it is for Lyme prevention," advised Schiffman.

Because right now is prime time for ticks, health officials stress the need  to protect yourself by wearing tick repellant when around brushy areas. You have about 24 hours from when a tick attaches itself before it can infect you. So  a hot soapy shower after a hike in the woods can help wash away any ticks you can't see.

Offline space otter

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Re: i hate ticks
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2017, 03:45:59 PM »

interesting about how increases of these little creepy crawlies happens

Increasing presence of ticks requires change in behavior
BOB FRYE  | Saturday, April 15, 2017, 6:27 p.m.

Updated 20 hours ago
It is, unfortunately, the new reality.

Once upon a time, going into the woods — to hunt, fish a stream, hike a trail, camp — and coming out again was something that could be accomplished without worry. No more.

Now, each outing should start with precautions and end with a full-body check.


Black-legged ticks, the pests that carry Lyme disease, have spread throughout the Northeast and upper Midwest and slowly but surely are filling in the gaps between.

No one knows what's behind their appearance.

“We don't have a good answer to that question. And it's a great question,” said Rick Ostfeld, senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., who has been studying ticks for 25 years

One theory holds that ticks were common across the Northeast until European settlers cleared standing forests, Ostfeld said. The thinking, he added, is they now simply are reclaiming old habitats.

What seems certain is ticks aren't going away.

“They're here. That's just the way it is now and probably forever,” said Tom Simmons, a professor of environmental health at IUP. “So at the end of the day, it really comes down to taking preventative measures. It's a behavioral thing.”

People have been slow to adapt.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, there were 38,069 diagnosed cases of Lyme disease in America in 2015, the latest year for which numbers are available. That ranked it the fifth-most-common “notifiable disease” nationally.

That doesn't tell the story, though.

“Keep in mind that the number of reported cases does not reflect every case of Lyme disease that is diagnosed in the United States every year,” said Kate Fowlie, spokeswoman with the CDC.

“Studies suggest that roughly 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year in the United States.”

This might be an especially bad season for new cases.

Ostfeld said his research shows the abundance of ticks is predicated not on white-tailed deer populations, as many believe, but on acorns and white-footed mice.

When oak forests produce a banner crop of acorns, wildlife simply can't consume them all, Ostfeld said. Mice store the surplus and “get a jump start on reproduction.”

Their population booms the following summer, he said.

The mice are in turn the perfect host, he added. Unlike raccoons, opossums, squirrels and other mammals, they're not very good at grooming away larval ticks.

So the year after a mouse boom, tick numbers explode, Ostfeld said.

That's a concern now.

Large areas of the Northeast had lots of acorns in 2015. They'll see lots of ticks this year, Ostfeld said.

Outdoorsmen and women are on their own for dealing with that.

While the Food and Drug Administration recently approved clinical trials for a human Lyme disease vaccine, there isn't one yet available, Fowlie said.

A vaccine for mice might be closer.

A Nashville company called US Biologic is seeking federal approval for an oral one. Much like the U.S. Department of Agriculture drops fish cakes containing rabies vaccine from airplanes to inoculate raccoons, US Biologic would like to distribute Lyme vaccine by hand or using a timed-release system, said chief executive officer Mason Kauffman.

Field trials in New York showed a “significant drop” in infected ticks, he said. Results of a more recent three-year study in Connecticut are pending.

Similarly, researchers with the Tick-borne Diseases Program in New Jersey learned bait boxes that treat visiting hungry mice with insecticides led to 97 percent fewer ticks in study areas. But it takes two years to see that change, they wrote.

In the meantime, people shouldn't be afraid to go outside, said Jeff Covelli of New Castle, who is affiliated with the PA Lyme Resource Network.

They do need to use caution, though, he said. He knows. His wife and son contracted Lyme disease.

With his son especially, there have been serious health implications, he said.

“Once you get it, it's an absolute mess,” Covelli said. “It's like trying to put together a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle one piece at a time.”

Covelli is adamant that outdoors-oriented people need to be proactive in avoiding similar troubles. That includes doing regular tick checks after each outing.

“The key, the absolute key going forward, is prevention,” he said. “It's something people have to be mindful of.”

Look closely when doing checks, Simmons said.

Adult ticks — about the size of a sesame seed — are relatively easy to spot, he said. Nymph-stage ticks — about the size of a poppy seed — are not. They're also more worrisome, he said, as they account for most cases of Lyme.

They'll become more common going forward, he added, with their numbers peaking in mid-July.

Not all ticks carry Lyme disease, but anyone finding one should see a doctor immediately, said Nicole Chinnici, a forensic scientist at the Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory at East Stroudsburg. Save the tick, too, she suggested, so doctors know what they're dealing with.

“Right now, the very best way to know if you've been infected is to get your tick tested,” Chinnici said.

If that's inconvenient, it's just the way things are, Simmons said.

“If you go outside, you're at risk. People have to understand that and take precautions,” he said.

Bob Frye is the Tribune-Review outdoors editor.

Tick prevention and care
How to avoid ticks and what to do if you're bitten: Advice from the U.S. Center for Disease Control.
• Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
• Walk in the center of trails.
• Use repellents that contain 20 to 30 percent DEET on exposed skin.
• Use products that contain permethrin on clothing.
• Shower within two hours of coming indoors to more easily find and wash off ticks.
• Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Pay special attention to armpits, ears, the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist and especially in hair.
• Examine gear and pets for ticks that might attach to you later.
• Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks.
• If you find a tick, remove it using fine-tipped tweezers. Grasp it as close to the skin as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands.
The PA Lyme Resource Network offers additional information on Lyme diagnosis, support groups, videos, and more at
For information on getting ticks tested, visit the Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory site

Offline zorgon

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Re: i hate ticks
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2017, 03:53:49 PM »
The mouse bloom sound the best possibility

Ticks are not the only thing coming back

Black Death is Back: Second Plague Death Reported in Colorado
Aug 16, 2015

It's a national SCANDAL' 10 'PLAGUE' cases as deadly diseases from past return to UK
SOME of the deadliest diseases in history are making a comeback in the UK, and there are fears even the Black Death could return to these shores.
By Lucy Johnston, EXCLUSIVE
PUBLISHED: 00:01, Mon, Feb 15, 2016 | UPDATED: 12:07, Mon, Feb 15, 2016

Offline biggles

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Re: i hate ticks
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2017, 03:59:29 PM »
Lyme disease is not funny by any means, but I'm really pissed off that the funnel web spider has made its way down here and staying.  Buggar.
I know that I know nothing - thanks Capricorn.

Offline space otter

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Re: i hate ticks
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2017, 07:46:08 AM »

vid at link

HEALTHY LIVING 05/05/2017 05:46 am ET | Updated 48 minutes ago
This Could Be The Worst Tick Season In Years. Here’s What You Need To Know.
Experts say warmer winters caused by climate change are allowing ticks to expand into new regions of the U.S.
By Hayley Miller

Tick season is upon us, and it’s shaping up to be a real doozy. Scientists predict 2017 will bear the highest number of ticks in recent years, with a jump in reported cases of tick-borne illnesses in some regions of the U.S.

Ticks are thriving thanks to a recent explosion of the white-footed mice population, which carry Lyme disease, Powassan virus and other tick-borne illnesses. Meanwhile, warmer winters caused by climate change are allowing ticks to remain active longer and carry diseases into new regions of the U.S.

Experts suggest people living in regions where these diseases are most prevalent ― the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and upper Midwest ― should learn about common tick misconceptions and best practices to avoid bites.

Black-legged ticks are the common carriers of several tick-borne illnesses, including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, Powassan virus and babesiosis. They can have life cycles of up to two to three years and are most active between May and July.

Theodore G. Andreadis is the director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, which collects ticks and analyzes them for pathogens. He said his organization has received an unusually high number of samples this year and a “concerning” number have tested positive for disease-causing organisms.

“With the mild winter, we had ticks being brought into our lab for testing as early as February,” Andreadis said. “And the number we’re seeing in our laboratory are at least tenfold higher than we’ve seen in recent years.”

Andreadis said 38-40 percent of the ticks coming through his lab test positive for a type of bacteria that carries Lyme disease ― roughly 7-8 percent more than usual.

chart on increase at link

People who get Lyme disease suffer from unpleasant symptoms like a rash, facial paralysis and swollen knees. But it isn’t always easy to detect, and if left untreated can progress to complications like memory problems, heart rhythm irregularities and chronic arthritis.

“We’ve got a combination of a higher number of ticks and a higher prevalence of these infectious agents,” Andreadis said. “We really want the public to use some precautions. We got a lot of ticks out there ― that’s the bottom line. And we haven’t even reached peak season yet.”

So what’s behind the surge in white-footed mice and, in turn, ticks?

Dr. Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, said acorns are likely to blame for the highest numbers of white-footed mice his organization has seen in 25 years.

Oak trees generally produce the most acorns every four to five years, a process known as masting. This occurred in summer 2015 and led to a spike in the white-footed mouse population, which relies on acorns as a key food source. These mice are the most common carriers of several tick-borne illnesses, such as Lyme disease and the Powassan virus, and also happen to be the primary hosts of black-legged ticks.

As the climate warms, ticks are able to invade areas to the north that were formally just too harsh, too cold, for them to persist.
Dr. Richard Ostfeld, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
If baby ticks are able to latch on to mice during their larva stage, they have a much higher chance of both surviving their first year of life and becoming infected with a disease by the time they become nymphs, when they are most likely to transmit pathogens to humans.

While scientists are unable to generate a precise estimate of where in the country this phenomenon occurs, it seems likely it will be widespread throughout New England and the tri-state area, Ostfeld said.

“We saw huge numbers of acorns in 2015, mouse plagues in 2016 and an expected bad year for ticks and Lyme disease in 2017,” said Ostfeld.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 95 percent of Lyme disease cases are reported in 14 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

But warmer winters caused by climate change are expanding the affected area and number of reported cases of tick-borne illnesses.

another chart

“As the climate warms, ticks are able to invade areas to the north that were formerly just too harsh, too cold, for them to persist,” Ostfeld said. “It’s really dramatic how much [Lyme disease] is spreading.”

Since the late 1990s, the number of reported cases of Lyme disease in the United States has tripled and the number of counties in the Northeastern and upper Midwestern United States that are considered high-risk for Lyme disease has increased by more than 300 percent, according to the CDC.

As Lyme disease cases increase, experts worry there could also be an uptick in other tick-borne illnesses, like the rare but dangerous Powassan virus. Infected humans have an estimated 10 percent chance of dying from the virus, and half of those who survive sustain permanent neurological damage.

Unlike Lyme disease, which can take ticks at least a day to transmit to hosts, Powassan pathogens are passed on in just 15 minutes ― making immediate removal and treatment essential.

“It’s a really nasty disease,” Ostfeld said. “It is not something you ever want to get. ... This is definitely a disease that public health officials and ecologists need to keep their eyes on.”

While reported cases of Powassan are still extremely rare, Ostfeld said its potentially debilitating effects are just another reason people should educate themselves about tick behavior, removal and prevention.

pic of rings from bite

Common tick misconceptions

Here’s what people get wrong most often about ticks, according to experts, and why knowing the truth could be paramount to your health.

Myth: Ticks can jump or fly.

If you find a tick on your head or upper body, it’s most likely because you didn’t notice it crawl onto your lower extremities first. Feet and ankles are the entry point for most ticks, which is why Ostfeld recommends using tick-killing repellents on your socks and shoes.

Myth: Repellent with DEET is effective but toxic, so it should be avoided.

While some people are allergic to the chemical compound and should abstain from using it, studies suggest DEET isn’t actually harmful for most people.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends DEET can be used on children older than 2 months. Oil of lemon eucalyptus can be used on children over 3 years of age.

“Tickborne diseases can be serious and parents should not hesitate to use repellents on children,” said Dr. Christina Nelson, pediatrician in the CDC’s division of vector-borne diseases.

Myth: The winter kills off most ticks.

Ticks are able to bury deep into the soil or leaf clutter during frigid winter temperatures to avoid death. So while climate change is adding to the spread of ticks, there’s no scientific proof that warmer weather is preventing more ticks from dying during the winter.

Myth: Take your time detaching a tick. It’s better to coax it out than remove it quickly.

If you spot a tick on your body, you should remove it immediately. Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible with a pair of tweezers and pull it straight out.

“Time is of the essence,” Ostfeld said. “Don’t panic, but pull the thing out as quickly as you can. And don’t waste time using these folk remedies of Vaseline or nail polish or burnt match heads ― they don’t work.”

“The important thing is to get the tick out quickly,” he added. “If some of the mouth parts stay in the skin, it’s really not such a big deal.”

Myth: If you don’t have the red bull’s-eye rash, you won’t get Lyme disease.

Tick bites don’t always cause the telltale red bull’s-eye rash. If you’ve been outside and you feel any of these common Lyme disease symptoms, you should see a doctor.


Avoid areas with high grass, brush and leaf clutter.

Wear light-colored clothing, long sleeves and closed-toe shoes when hiking. Tuck your pants into your socks, too.

Don’t stray from the center of hiking trails.

Use repellent with permethrin to treat your clothes and shoes.

Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 directly on skin for protection that lasts a few hours.

Thoroughly check your body if you’ve been in a tick-prone area, and shower as soon as possible once indoors.

Have a friend inspect hard-to-see areas of your body like the back, neck and scalp.

Parents should use bath time to thoroughly check young children for ticks daily.

If you find a tick, remove it with tweezers immediately.

Call your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms after removing a tick.

Throw your clothes in the dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes to kill any stowaway ticks.

Check dogs and cats for ticks frequently, and ask your veterinarian about tick preventives for pets.

Bottom line: If you spend time outdoors in an area prone to ticks, assume you’ve picked one up. Do a thorough check when you’re back indoors and remove any ticks immediately.

Climate Change Is Increasing The Footprint Of Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease Danger Zones Are Spreading Throughout Northeast & Midwest
6 Better Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Suggest a correction
Hayley Miller 
Reporter, HuffPost

Public Health Biological Sciences Centers For Disease Control And Prevention Infections Lyme Disease
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