Ticks are bloodsucking parasitic arachnids that can be found across the United States. They thrive outside in warm climates and can also infest people’s homes. Aside from being an ugly nuisance, they can also carry dangerous diseases. The following tick-borne diseases of the US area real health concerns and should not be taken lightly.
Babesiosis causes sufferers to have a fever, anemia, chills, sweating, dark urine, and an enlarged spleen. Symptoms can surface as late as 52 weeks after the bite. This illness causes an invasion of red blood cells, which can lead to death. Drugs that treat Babesiosis include anti-malarial medicines and antibiotics.
Ehrlichiosis historically has primarily affected animals, but since the 1950s, the disease has attacked humans as well. Symptoms include ache, rash, fever, and headache. Signs of this disease usually occur within 30 days of a bite. Lack of treatment can lead to death. The primary medicine that treats Ehrlichiosis is the antibiotic Doxycycline.
Lyme disease usually presents with a red ring on the skin that expands over time. Other symptoms include a stiff neck, fatigue, muscle aches, and severe headache. Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics to combat the illness. If left untreated, it can spread to the nervous system and the joints, resulting in loss of feeling in parts of the body, as well as severe pain and depression.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever shows symptoms up to 14 days after a tick bite. Signs include tiredness, muscle pain, rash, chills, nausea, and severe headache. Antibiotics are generally the prescribed treatment. If ignored, RMSF can be fatal as it has the capability to attack the kidneys, causing shock and failure of the organs.
Tick Paralysis occurs when female ticks bury themselves under the skin’s surface and secrete a neurotoxin that causes ascending paralysis. The illness begins in the lower body and moves up, which can cause a loss of respiratory function and even death if the tick is not removed. Other symptoms occurring within five to seven days include flaccid paralysis, fatigue, tongue and facial paralysis and convulsions.
“Ticks.” eMedicineHealth.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2010. www.emedicinehealth.com/ticks/article_em.htm.
“CDC – Tickborne Diseases of the U.S. – Ticks.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2010. http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/diseases/.