It’s the season of sun and summer fun, which leads many to enjoy the great outdoors and warm weather. While this is all in good fun, it’s important to remember that it’s also tick season. In fact, rising numbers of tick-borne illnesses have pushed the Onondaga Health Department to release a warning about anaplasmosis.
Anaplasmosis is caused by the bacteria Anaplasma phagocytophilum and is spread through tick bites, typically by black-legged ticks. In very rare cases, it can also be transmitted through blood transfusions. Regardless of where one contracted the disease, symptoms will appear one to two weeks after being exposed. The early signs include muscle aches, vomiting, nausea, fever, loss of appetite, chills, diarrhea, and severe headaches. If treatment is not administered, this can progress to a severe case. This can cause organ failure, respiratory failure, bleeding problems, and even death.
Because of this, early diagnosis and intervention are crucial. Once a doctor has noticed that a patient has anaplasmosis, they should immediately administer doxycycline. There are also ways to prevent tick bites, therefore preventing anaplasmosis. Use insect repellant, wear protective clothing, check your clothing and pets for ticks, and shower after returning from an area that could be populated with ticks.
Watch Out for Ticks
The Onondaga Health Department released an announcement last week that pointed out the rise in anaplasmosis cases. In the past five years, Central New York has reported three cases of the rare disease. This year, Onondaga County alone has reported six cases. In addition, Upstate Medical University has already received triple the amount of ticks that it did last year, with a staggering 1,548 insects.
The health department is urging residents to remain vigilant when it comes to ticks, as that is the best way to avoid anaplasmosis. They note that people have learned how to prevent Lyme disease, and now it’s time to do the same for this tick-borne illness. Their advice includes:
- Use EPA-approved insect repellant
- Treat clothing and gear with 0.5% permethrin
- Wear light-colored socks under shoes, long pants, long sleeves, and tuck your shirt into your pants and pants into your socks
- Check for ticks immediately after returning indoors
- Remove ticks by their mouth or head with tweezers in a firm, steady motion
- Clean the area with hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or soap and water
If you do find a tick anywhere on your body, gear, or pets, you can send it to Upstate Medical University for testing. Use this online submission form to start the process; it’s free.
Find the source article here.