21August

Beware of Ticks! They Carry A Lot More Than Lyme Disease

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It’s never too late or too frequent to publish great advice.

Watch out for ticks and all their dangers.

The Wall Street Journal published a very thorough article about the dangers of ticks and how people are at risk.  Lyme Disease is real danger that people in the northeast and other states encounter after getting bitten by ticks.  These WSJ articles (first read the article, then the related blog entry on treatments) from a year ago are quite relevant today (and tomorrow) for anyone who spends time outdoors.  USA Today continues the media coverage of the Lyme Disease, noting, “Lyme disease itself has long been confounding, but the Boston Globe today zeroes in on an especially vexing fact: About 25% of patients continue experiencing symptoms — debilitating headaches, sore joints, nausea, etc. — long after they finish the standard month-long treatment of oral antibiotics.”  For the full Boston Globe article, click here.

While most focus on Lyme Disease, with good reason, ticks also carry and transmit an number of other diseases. Ticks have become a real danger to human carnivores.  The Wall Street Journal highlighted this threat from the Lone Star tick earlier this summer.

“Researchers say that bites from the voracious lone star tick are making some people allergic to red meat—even if they’ve never had a problem eating it before.The allergic reactions range from vomiting and abdominal cramps to hives to anaphylaxis, which can lead to breathing difficulties and sometimes even death. Unlike most food allergies, the symptoms typically set in three to six hours after an affected person eats beef, pork or lamb—often in the middle of the night. The bite that seems to precipitate it may occur weeks or months before, often making it difficult for people to make the link.”

And as we said in our recent post on invading insect species, insects are spreading into new territories when communities (including the medical community) are often unprepared.

The Wall Street Journal’s June 2013 map of the spread of the Lone Star Tick (above) doesn’t include Wisconsin.  Just one month later, news reports announced that this tick is now also making a home in the Badger State. Ticks, and insects, are significant public health issues.  Be careful and take all necessary precautions.

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