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CAN ANIMALS SPREAD LYME DISEASE? RESEARCHERS SAY YES!

 

 

It's no secret that tick bites cause Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses in humans. But are there other arachnids species or animals that cause these illnesses? The answer isn't yes or no.

 

A bite from another species of arachnids or animal cannot cause Lyme or its co-infections. Although, animals infected with ticks can spread them by moving from one location to another. In turn, that causes ticks and their pathogens to spread far and wide.

 

ANIMALS THAT SPREAD TICKS

 

According to Global Lyme Alliance, migratory birds are the main culprit of this growing issue. When these birds migrate, some of them can carry ticks along with them.

 

Research conducted in the Spring of 2013 and 2014 found that 137 of 3,844 birds were infected with ticks. Over 90 of these ticks were neotropical; this means they came from Central or South America. And over a third of these ticks carried various forms of tick-borne pathogens. Thankfully, none of the birds in the study were found to be carrying ticks that harbored Lyme disease.

 

Here is a shortlist of birds that could cause the spread.

 

  • Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

  • Northern Waterthrushes

  • Least Flycatchers

 

These are just a few; there could be many more. Any bird species that migrate long or short distances can cause the spread.

 

TICK-BORNE DISEASES

 

Knowledge is power, and knowing the risks at stake can help you take proper action. Let's go over some of the most common tick-borne illnesses.

 

 

LYME DISEASE

Lyme Disease is the most commonly diagnosed tick-borne illness. It often goes undetected before it is too late and causes life-altering symptoms. Some of those symptoms include the following.

 

  • Joint Swelling and Pain (Arthritis)

  • Headaches

  • Facial Palsy

  • Brain Inflammation

  • Heart Palpitations

  • Dizziness

  • Numbness

 

Black-legged Ticks cause Lyme disease.

 

ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER

 

Although the amount of confirmed Rock Mountain Spotted Fever cases are lower than Lyme disease, the symptoms and effects are still devastating. RMSF can cause the following symptoms.

 

  • Fever

  • Nausea

  • Rash

  • Abdominal Pain

  • Headaches

 

You can find more information on RMSF at the CDC. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is caused by the American Dog Tick bites.

EHRLICHIOSIS

 

Like RMSF, Ehrlichiosis has low case numbers in comparison to Lyme, but the symptoms are still heartbreaking. Symptoms frequently experienced by Ehrlichiosis include the following.

 

  • Fever and Chills

  • Fatigue

  • Joint Pain

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Severe Headaches

 

Ehrlichiosis is spread by the Lone Star Tick and the Black-legged tick. Get more information on Ehrlichiosis.

 

BABESIOSIS

 

Babesiosis is the most common Lyme disease co-infection. Together they can cause a whirlwind of debilitating symptoms. Some of those symptoms may include the following.

 

  • Fatigue

  • Body Aches

  • Loss of Appetite

  • Sweats

  • Headaches

 

Babesiosis is also caused by the Black-legged Tick. Find out more information about Babesiosis.

 

CONNECTICUT IS THE TICK CAPITAL

It would be negligent not to discuss the staggering numbers of tick-borne illness cases in the state of Connecticut. Research and statistics show that we are the Lyme disease capital of the world.

 

In 2018 there were over 1,200 confirmed cases of Lyme disease. The town of Fairfield made up over 200 hundred of those cases. And those are just the confirmed cases, there were additional unconfirmed cases.

 

LYME DISEASE AND TICK-BORNE DISEASE PREVENTION

 

Treatment is possible for all of the tick-borne illnesses mentioned, but prevention is the cure. We must reclaim our state's environment and make it safe for all to enjoy its beauty.  Here are some essential prevention tips that could save you or a loved one.

 

REPELLENTS

Just like any other bug repellent, the most common form of tick-repellent comes in spray form. You can purchase these repellents from most drugstores. Look for sprays that contain Permethrin.

 

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

Leaving little to no skin exposed is ideal when entering an area with a know tick infestation. That will prevent the ticks from biting you. You can also wear light-colored clothing, which helps you see them better if they crawl onto you.

 

FREQUENT EXAMINATIONS

Even if you have performed the previous preventive suggestions, it's best to always do a quick examination of your body after being outside. That will allow you to act quickly if you have been bitten.

 

EXTERMINATION

Eliminating the source of the issue is the ultimate prevention. If you know of tick infestation around your business or home, it is best to remove it. Keep you and your loved ones safe!

 

If you live in Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Westport, Fairfield County, New Haven County  or the surrounding areas, we can help you!  We are the best tick and flea exterminators in the state of Connecticut!

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