Are you planning a hiking trip in a national park this year? If you answered yes, it may come as a surprise to learn that a recent study found many of these parks house ticks that are known carriers of Lyme disease. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention) Lyme disease affects approximately 300,000 Americans each year. In fact Lyme disease is more common than any other illness that is transmitted by vectors including mosquitoes. Black-legged ticks pick up bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi by biting an infected animal. The bacterium which causes Lyme disease is then transmitted to humans in a subsequent bite. Lyme disease causes headache, fatigue, fever, and in some cases a rash. If not treated quickly, the disease can damage the joints, nervous system, and heart.
How Do You Identify a Deer or Other Tick Species?
The size and color of the tick will help you identify what type of ticks you have encountered. Ticks that are brown in color and small in size for example the size of a poppy seed are deer ticks. They can transmit Lyme disease and several other tick-borne infections. Ticks infected with Borrelia burgdorferi are primarily found in areas from Maine to Virginia and Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Blacklegged Ticks are Commonly Found in National Parks
According to reports, deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis) also known as blacklegged ticks or bear ticks were found in nine national parks including: Acadia National Park in Maine; Fire Island National Seashore in Long Island, N.Y.; Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania; Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., and Manassas National Battlefield Park, Prince William Forest Park and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Although medical experts have long suspected that ticks found in national parks were responsible for many cases of Lyme disease, this is the first time that researchers have been able to make a definitive confirmation. According to a spokesperson with the Center for Disease Control & Prevention Lyme disease is increasing in both the geographical range and numbers of individuals infected. It is also likely that there are many other national parks and wildlife preserves infected that were not part of this study.
What Can You Do to Avoid Tick Bites?
If you plan on visiting a national park you can reduce your risk of infection by following the simple guidelines provided by the knowledgeable experts at A Five Star Termite & Pest Control
• Apply insect repellents containing between 20 – 30% DEET to any exposed skin and clothing.
• As an added layer of protection, apply permethrin based products to clothing.
• Never sit or lean on logs when you are walking on trails or through the woods
• Examine your pets, gear and each other for ticks. If you find any attached remove them immediately.
• Once you leave a wooded area, help remove any ticks in your hair or on your body by showering within two hours of leaving the area.
• To destroy ticks that may be attached to your clothing, place your clothes in a dryer and heat them on high for approximately 10 minutes.
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Worried about Lyme disease carrying ticks around your San Antonio, TX home or businesses? Contact the knowledgeable professionals at A Five Star Termite & Pest Control and ask about our comprehensive list of pest control services including pest control, removal and maintenance to keep disease carrying pests away once and for all!