It’s tick season, and we all know what that means. Being cautious when going near the countryside is vital, with ticks being associated with Lyme disease which can infect the heart, joints and nervous system if left untreated.
An exploding numbers of ticks, mosquitos and other insects are making their way into the US, and due to recently warmer winters, are not dying and surviving until summer.
Now a new species native to Asia and first discovered on sheep last year has survived winter and is back full force. The Longhorned tick, as it is called, thrives in warmer climates but has survived winter in the US — and is now worryingly spreading across the East Coast.
To make matters worse, this particular ‘exotic’ breed of ticks have been known to spread a deadly virus, severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or SFTS. While it is currently uncertain whether the new “US-based” Longhorned ticks can carry the SFTS virus, experts are understandably concerned.
Symptoms of SFTS include fever, fatigue, chill, headache, nausea, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, disease of the lymph nodes, and conjunctival congestion. In some cases, it can lead to death.
“These ticks and mosquitos are having a field day of sorts,” researcher Kayla Socarras told FOX 29.
The number of people getting sick from ticks, mosquitos and fleas has tripled over the past 12 years, according to the CDC. Some carry new germs, causing illnesses that can leave individuals dead in just a few days.
With summer well underway, experts are now urging residents to take precautionary measures to protect themselves from all ticks.
“The best way to protect against Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites,” Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive, in a news release. “If you find a tick attached to your body, promptly remove it. Monitor your health, and if you experience fever, rash, muscle or joint aches or other symptoms, consult with your medical provider.”
Have a good look below to see what the Longhorned tick looks like:
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