Study Finds Lyme Disease in Ticks in Nine U.S. National Parks

blacklegged tick

By Josh Lancette Lyme disease has been spreading across the United States over the past several decades, and a new study has confirmed that ticks carrying the disease are present in eastern national parks. According to the study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and […]

Entomological Society of America Issues Statement on Tick-borne Diseases

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Dr. Christopher Paddock

This photograph depicts a dorsal view of a female Rocky Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni. This tick specie is a know North American vector of Rickettsia rickettsii, which is the etiologic agent of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.Dermacentor andersoni is found in the Rocky Mountain states and in southwestern Canada. The life cycle of this tick may require up to 2 to 3 years for completion. Adult wood ticks feed primarily on large mammals, while the larvae and nymphs feed on small rodents. See PHIL 10869, for a side-by-side comparative view of both a male and female D. andersoni tick.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever, like all rickettsial infections, is classified as a zoonosis. Zoonoses are diseases of animals that can be transmitted to humans. Many zoonotic diseases require a biological vector (e.g., a mosquito, tick, flea, or mite) in order to be transmitted from the animal host to the human host. In the case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ticks are the natural hosts, serving as both reservoirs and vectors of R. rickettsii. Ticks transmit the organism to vertebrates primarily by their bite. Less commonly, infections may occur following exposure to crushed tick tissues, fluids, or tick feces.

The Entomological Society of America (ESA) recently released a statement (http://www.entsoc.org/ticks) supporting the creation and implementation of a national strategy using Integrated Tick Management to better control tick populations and reduce the rapidly escalating impact of tick-borne diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, and Lyme disease. “The rapid rise in tick-borne diseases is […]

TickSpotters Can Help You Identify Ticks and Learn How to Protect Yourself

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By Hannah Foster Oh no! You’ve found a tick! Who ya gonna call? TICKSPOTTERS! Maybe ticks haven’t started popping up in your neighborhood yet, but they probably will soon. That’s why it’s important to have what I like to call an “Emergency Tick Protocol,” or ETP. Here’s an example of a typical ETP I used […]

For Ticks, Researchers Find Lemur Noses to be Males Only in Madagascar

ME-14-160ticknose-WP

By Josh Lancette Ticks have been found in the noses of chimpanzees in Uganda, presumably because the chimps aren’t able to pluck them off during grooming. They’ve also been found to play the part of stowaway and unwanted guest, hiding out in human noses during transcontinental flights and making their homes in human navels and […]

Mice Aren’t Nice, They Help Transmit Lyme Disease

Ixodes-scapularis-Tom-Mather-cropped

By Hannah Foster Upon hearing the words “Lyme disease,” most people think of two things: ticks and deer. Although these are certainly important aspects of the disease, ticks and deer are only two pieces of the puzzle. Lyme disease is actually extremely complicated, and its spread is affected by a wide range of organisms. Knowing […]

Dermacentor limbooliati, a New Tick Species From Malaysia and Vietnam

Dermacentor-limbooliati-correct

A new tick species found in Malaysia and Vietnam was recently discovered by researchers in Georgia. Adults of the new species, Dermacentor limbooliati, are similar to those of Dermacentor auratus and of Dermacentor compactus, species with which it was previously confused. However, D. limbooliati can be distinguished by a number of characteristics which are described […]

Reduced Numbers of Deer can Lead to Fewer Lyme Disease Cases

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Since white-tailed deer serve as the primary host for the adult blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) — the vector for Lyme disease — scientists have wondered whether reducing the number of deer in a given area would also mean fewer cases of Lyme disease. Now, after a 13-year study was conducted, researchers in Connecticut have found […]

Fossilized Tick Provides Evidence that Lyme Disease is Millions of Years Older than Humans

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. each year. The stealthy, often misdiagnosed disease was discovered nearly 40 years ago in a town called Lyme, Connecticut, which is how it got its name. However, newly discovered fossilized ticks show that the bacteria […]

Ticks are Still Abundant, Despite Cold Weather

ixodes_scapularis-FLIP

“Despite the long, cold winter, ticks are abundant in New York State and surrounding areas,” according to Paul Curtis, coordinator of Cornell University’s Wildlife Damage Management Program and associate professor of Natural Resources. “The persistent snow cover helped insulate overwintering ticks in the leaf litter.” While weather and other conditions may be factors, the size […]

Heartland Virus — Another Reason to Avoid Ticks

lonestar-tick

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with health officials in Missouri and Tennessee, have identified six new cases of people sick with Heartland virus. Five were in Missouri and one was in Tennessee. Heartland virus was first reported in two northwestern Missouri farmers who were hospitalized in 2009 with what was […]