Image courtesy Kirby Stafford III, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Protect your property–
- Modify your landscape to create Tick-Safe Zones. Some ticks only survive in moist environments.
- Create a dry barrier between your yard and the woods. Laying down wood chips or gravel in a 2-3’ wide perimeter around the yard will reduce the number of ticks that enter the grassy area.
- Keep the yard mowed and clear of underbrush and leaf litter.
- Keep play areas away from shrubs and other vegetation.
- Use a pesticide in the yard. Contact Chatham County Cooperative Extension for more information about pesticide use (919-542-8202).
- Use bait boxes that treat wild rodents with acaricide (pesticides that kill ticks). When used properly, these boxes have been shown to reduce deer ticks around homes by more than 50%. The pesticide does not harm the rodent.
- Prevent deer from entering your yard by constructing physical barriers or clearing away vegetation that attracts the deer.
Common Diseases Transmitted by Ticks:
Rocky mountain spotted fever– is the most severe and most frequently reported rickettsial illness in the United States. Initial signs and symptoms of the disease include sudden onset of fever, headache, and muscle pain, followed by development of rash. The disease can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages, and without prompt and appropriate treatment it can be fatal. http://www.cdc.gov/rmsf/
Southern Tick associated rash illness A rash similar to the rash of Lyme disease has been described in humans following bites of the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum. The rash may be accompanied by fatigue, fever, headache, muscle and joint pains. This condition has been named southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI).
Tularemia Symptoms include: sudden fever, chills, headaches, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough, and progressive weakness. People can also catch pneumonia and develop chest pain, bloody sputum and can have trouble breathing and even sometimes stop breathing. Other symptoms of tularemia depend on how a person was exposed to the tularemia bacteria. These symptoms can include ulcers on the skin or mouth, swollen and painful lymph glands, swollen and painful eyes, and a sore throat.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful in the later stages of disease. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics.
Relapsing Fever Relapsing Fever is a disease characterized by relapsing or recurring episodes of fever, often accompanied by headache, muscle and joint aches and nausea. There are two forms of relapsing fever:
• Tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF)
• Louse-borne relapsing fever (LBRF)
Please call Chatham County Public Health Department Environmental Health Division with any questions at 919-542-8208 or visit our website at http://www.chathamnc.org/environmentalhealth