1. What causes Lyme Disease and how would I
Lyme Disease is caused by a bacterium from a group of bacteria known as Spirochetes. Spirochetes are corkscrew-shaped bacteria that can actually bore into essential organs and other tissues of the body, and can go into dormancy for long periods of time. The Lyme Spirochete is called Borrelia burgdorferi, and it is transmitted to humans and pets by the black legged (deer) tick and the lonestar tick. When an infected tick bites, it transfers spirochete bacteria into the blood stream of humans and pets.
2. How will I know if a tick
bite transmitted Lyme Disease?
There is an early warning bullís-eye rash in the area of the bite that some, but not all, bite victims see. The other early warning sign is the embedded feeding tick itself. Unfortunately most victims of Lyme Disease never know that they were bitten by an infected tick, and go untreated until concerning health issues begin to manifest within the victim. Detection of embedded ticks is difficult because of the black legged tickís extremely small size
3. What should I do if I find
an embedded tick on my body?
The tick must be carefully removed either by a medical professional, or you can do it yourself or have someone assist you. A proper removal device is necessary to firmly grasp the tick by the mouthparts only and gently remove the tick from the skin. Do not grasp the tick by its abdomen because pressure will force the tick to regurgitate its gut contents, which may contain disease microbes, into the bloodstream. Save the tick for proper identification by a trained professional.
4. Are there removal methods
that I should avoid?
Yes. Never use alcohol, lit matches, cigarettes, insecticides, repellants, gasoline, ammonia, or any other solvent or heat source to remove any embedded tick. All of these methods cause the tick to regurgitate the contents of its gut into the victimís bloodstream, which further increases the likelihood of contracting a tick- borne disease.
5. What happens if I get Lyme
The nature of your illness will depend on the length of time that Lyme Disease goes untreated. Additionally, not all humans respond the same way to this very complex disease, and ticks can also transmit more than one type of disease with a single bite further complicating a proper diagnosis and treatment. Lyme Disease is a syphilitic-type condition that left untreated can cause severe debilitating issues both physically and mentally. This stage is known as chronic Lyme, and is very difficult to diagnose and treat. Early stages of Lyme Disease can be completely cured with common antibiotics issued by a medical doctor. However catching Lyme Disease in its early stages is difficult at best, and many physicians and laboratories lack the experience and testing protocols to properly identify the disease.
6. How can I prevent contact
with Lyme Disease?
Currently there are only a few preventative measures to protect your family and self from contracting Lyme Disease and no method is guaranteed. Lyme Disease is a 49 State issue and not just a problem of the Northeast. At present time, it is known that black legged ticks and lonestar ticks are disease vectors of Lyme. Avoiding human contact with ticks is the critical element in prevention. Unfortunately there isnít a human Lyme vaccine at this time, although there is one for your pets available through a veterinarian. So without a vaccine, all humans are vulnerable to this very serious disease.
7. Who is most at risk to
contract Lyme Disease?
Since Lyme Disease is a disease of the active population who use the outdoors as their playground for sports, hobbies and other activities, children, athletes and outdoors adventurers are highly susceptible to coming into contact with disease carrying ticks. Playgrounds, parks, trails, fields and your very own backyard are the harborage areas for Lyme-carrying ticks. This condition is more related to the deer and mouse populations in these areas versus the human populations. The deer and the white-footed mouse are reservoir hosts of Lyme Disease, and wherever these animals are found, you are surely to find Lyme infected ticks. As deer and mouse populations go unchecked because of local and state regulations, the disease spreads at uncontrolled rates. Lobby your local and state legislators to get control of these out-of-control animal populations in densely human populated areas.
8. What is the most effective
preventative control method available today?
An insecticide application to the lawn and wooded transition zone around your home is an effective method to kill ticks that are present in areas where humans and pets are active. These applications should be rendered by a licensed professional pest control operator with a deep understanding of tick biology and treatments. Most professional pest control operators understand the concerns of homeowners when applying insecticides in areas where pets and children play and use extreme care and sound judgment in the selection of the right product for your situation. Lyme-carrying ticks are a serious threat to public health, yet many legislators are banning the use of effective pesticides due to the unproven claims levied by special interest groups. Tell your state and local legislators that you demand protection against Lyme Disease, and effective pesticides are the only viable weapons for prevention at this time.
9. Are there any non-pesticide
Non-pesticide methods of prevention include staying out of areas where deer and field mice frequent including your yard, wearing white clothing for ease of detection, inspecting your body thoroughly after returning from areas where deer and mice live, using tick repellants on clothes and skin, maintaining a well-manicured lawn and removing all leaf and litter debris from the surrounding property, treating pets with a tick repellant, keeping field mice from entering the home or other out properties. All of these methods along with a residual insecticide application should be incorporated into a comprehensive tick control program. There are no guarantees that you or a family member will not contract Lyme Disease even if all of these methods are employed due to the number of variables outside of your control and the professional applicatorís control.