themselves as are adults.
They have few natural enemies. Only
The second risk group are adults whose
two species of wasps parasitize hard
occupations place them in tick habitat:
farmers, outdoor maintenance workers,
park and forestry personnel, and
Lyme disease is caused by a spirochaete (a spiral
shaped bacteria). Symptoms vary and may mimic other
The general public who hikes, camps,
diseases; many cases go undiagnosed. The first
participates in outdoor recreational
indication of a potential infection may be the discovery
sports, or lives in areas of preferred tick
of an attached tick. Disease transmission does not
and host habitat is the third risk group.
occur for an estimated 10-12 hours after feeding
Hunters, depending on the amount of
begins, if the tick is located and removed within that
time spent out of doors, fit into either
time, no infection will occur.
of the last two groups.
Usually, within seven days (from three to 32
days) after disease transmission, a rash appears (in 60
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
to 75 percent of all cases). The rash looks like a red,
RMSF is caused by a rickettsia, a disease
expanding ring with a clear center; this center often is
organism related to bacteria. It is an acute infectious
the site of the bite. The rash may burn or itch.
disease characterized by pain in muscles and joints,
Technically. this rash is called erythema cronicum
fever, and spotty, red skin eruptions.
migrans (ECM); it is not uncommon to find ECM at
At least four to six hours elapse after the
multiple sites. It disappears within three weeks but can
American dog tick begins feeding before disease
transmission begins. If ticks are removed during this
Other skin symptoms may be hives, redness of
noninfective period, infection will not occur.
cheeks under eyes, and swelling of eyelids with
A rash on wrists and ankles, the most
reddening of the whites of the eyes. Flu-like symptoms
characteristic and consistent symptom of RMSF,
may accompany the skin symptoms, e.g., high fever,
occurs on the second to fifth day after infection. Often
headache, stiff neck, fatigue, sore throat and swollen
aching in the lower back and headaches around the
head and eyes will also occur. Victims feel very tired
A second set of symptoms occurs in untreated
and can run fevers of 104-106F. Less obvious
patients four to six weeks after transmission. Over half
symptoms may not be noticed.
untreated victims experience an arthritis of the large
Laboratory blood tests can be done to assist
joints (primarily the knees, elbows, and wrists)
diagnosis in questionable cases. Early treatment using
intermittently or chronically.
antibiotics is most successful.
A few (10-27 percent) experience neurological
effects including severe headache, stiff neck, facial
Ticks That Carry Disease
paralysis, weakness, and possibly, pain of the chest or
Deer ticks, or Ixodes, carry Lyme disease. This
extremities; these symptoms may persist for weeks. In
genus of ticks contains the greatest number of species
6-10 percent of the cases, heart block may occur.
of the hard ticks and they transmit diseases around the
Dogs can also acquire Lyme disease. They forage
world. The northern deer tick, Ixodes dammini, is the
in tick habitat and become infected, In fact, diagnosis
carrier (called a vector) of Lyme disease in the eastern
of the disease in dogs in the area is a harbinger of
United States. Its counterpart in the South is called the
human cases to follow. Symptoms in dogs include
blacklegged tick. In the West, the common vector is I.
sluggishness and lameness.
pacificus. There are many other Ixodes in the United
Responses to Lyme Disease: Education
States and what part they will play in Lyme disease
transmission is not yet known.
This serious disease can be expected to increase.
The American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis is
Technicians should clearly instruct their clients that
there are no easy or effective control measures that
the eastern, central United States, and Pacific coast
state or federal agencies can perform.
vector of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The Rocky
Mountain wood tick, Dermacentor andersoni, which
Children are at highest risk; they
closely resembles D. variabilis, is found in the Rocky
encounter infected ticks in camps,
parks, on hikes, or at play in areas
Mountain States, Nevada, eastern California, Oregon,
where deer and mice abound. Children
and Washington. This tick was the original vector of
are not as sensitive to finding ticks on
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. When settlers reached
Module Two, Chapter 4, Pg 4