Posts Tagged ‘erlichiosis’

Tick-Borne Illnesses

Oh, great.

Just when I thought that non-Lyme-carrying tick bites were no big deal, an article in today’s Portland Press Herald disabused me of that notion.

It turns out that ticks may also carry anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and erlichiosis.   Although the symptoms are not as severe as Lyme disease, when bitten by a tick carrying these bacteria, one may experience fever, nausea, chills, and extreme fatigue.   Weirdly, people suffering from erlichiosis, which comes from the bite of the Lone Star tick, may develop an allergy to red meat.

Last winter’s extreme cold and heavy snow did not kill off the usual tick population.  Instead,  “the heavy snowfall acted as a barrier that insulated the ticks and allowed them to survive bitter-cold temperatures,” according to the newspaper.

Lyme disease is a serious problem in both New Hampshire and Maine, and anecdotally it seems that just about everyone I talk to that works outside for a living has Lyme disease or knows someone who is afflicted by Lyme disease.  In 2003 the CDC reported 175 cases of Lyme disease in Maine.  In 2013 there were 1,376 reported cases.  The ticks are even killing off the moose, literally sucking their blood dry, and they have been dying in an anemic, weakened state all over New Hampshire and parts of Maine.

The good news is that tick-borne diseases can be treated with antibiotics if caught early.  Unfortunately, most people do not realize they have been bitten until they experience symptoms months later.  The larger dog ticks are easily visible but tinier deer ticks are barely the size of the head of a pin, so it’s easy to miss their presence until it’s too late.

To read more about tick-borne illness: