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Tick season starts in early spring and lasts through fall in most US regions. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman said that Missouri, Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee account for more than 50% of spotted-fever cases.
The first signs of tick-borne illness differ as nine distinct species can spread the disease. Every year CDC documents about 50,000 issues of various conditions related to tick bites, and there are also accounts of a handful of rare tick-borne illnesses across the country.
Lyme disease bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi from a black-legged tick is most standard in the Northeast and Midwest, where the species thrives.
States with 100 cases in one million people were considered to have a high incidence of Lyme disease, but high-incidence baseline states had 50 cases per million. States with fewer than 10 cases per million people are considered gray.
Lyme disease cases are reported in states where Ixodes scapularis species flourish. This black-legged tick, also known as the deer tick, emanated in the Northeast and fanned to the Midwest.
New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine documented between 800 to 1,200 cases per million people in 2019.
Minnesota noted a high incidence of cases. The Rocky Mountains spotted fever from wood tick sweeps the South at lower rates than Lyme.
Some species can cause multiple illnesses
While the black-legged tick cause Lyme disease, it can also transmit bacteria and viruses, causing anaplasmosis, a flu-like illness. Massachusetts used to be a high-incidence Lyme state, but the cases dropped in 2016. In the meantime, the anaplasmosis cases exceeded that of Lyme: different bacteria, but the same tick.
The lone star tick spreads an unfamiliar tick-borne illness called Ehrlichiosis in the Southern and Central US. In Missouri, the annual ehrlichiosis rate is nearly as high as the Rocky Mountains Spotted Fever rate. The disease was reported in Nebraska, but most cases occur in the country’s eastern half.
Ticks are related to spiders and insects, with over 20 known species in Michigan. They survive by feeding on wildlife. Several species of ticks bite pets and people and may carry viruses, bacteria, or parasites. But, not all ticks harbor illnesses.
It does not hurt when a tick bites, but it will adhere to the skin for several days as it swells up with blood to several times its size. Ticks can attach to the ears, hairline, waistline, groin, and armpit.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
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Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Marc Kummel’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Chris Booth’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License