Monday, April 20, 2020 by Michael Alexander
Ticks, parasitic arachnids belonging to the same family as mites, have long been associated with Lyme disease, an infection caused by a spiral bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi.
The disease is spread to humans through the bite of black-legged or deer ticks (Ixodes scapularis). Based on information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne disease in the U.S, infecting an estimated 30,000 people each year.
Aside from Lyme disease, ticks carry and transmit a variety of other pathogens, some of which cause equally serious, if not altogether fatal, conditions. And as it turns out, these diseases, according to a study published by the American Society for Microbiology, are on the rise in the United States.
As published in the journal Microbiology Spectrum, not only is the number of tick-borne disease cases on the rise in the U.S., but so is the number of novel tick-related microorganisms and tick-borne disease agents identified in the past 20 years.
According to the researchers, this rise in numbers could be caused by the expansion in the range where various species of ticks live in North America, as well as the emergence of new, invasive tick species.
Among the recently identified tick-borne diseases are the following:
With this in mind, it’s best if you proactively avoid these tiny pests, especially since up to 50 percent of ticks are already infected with diseases that can potentially cause havoc in your immunity.
These immune system disruptions can even potentially make people even more vulnerable to diseases such as COVID-19, said Goudarz Molaei, director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station’s passive tick surveillance and testing program.
Here are some things you can do to avoid getting bitten by ticks:
If you must venture out into the outdoors, make sure to take the necessary precautions and apply natural insect and pest repellents. An effective and natural tick repellent can be made by mixing these ingredients together:
This mixture can be sprayed on the skin before heading out. If you want to make a bigger batch, just scale up the quantities needed.
For more stories on preventing tick-borne diseases, visit Health.news.