New Ticks Found in New Jersey and New York

tick on skinIt is summer season once again and time for us to spend more time outdoors. However, this season also brings a particular risk, especially for children and even the elderly who love to stay outdoors. Risk such as tick bites and Lyme disease are common during summer. In fact, Lyme disease is particularly severe in the Northeast region with New York having the highest number of reported cases of Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is commonly transmitted by the bites of ticks, which are carried around by deer. A common victim may be a New Jersey resident who enjoy gardening or a child who likes to stay out in the yard to play. But, it is not only Lyme disease, residents should be worried about since New Jersey and New York residents are up to a new threat with new rare tick-borne disease and a new disease transmitted by the same deer tick that causes Lyme disease are now affecting these areas.

Powassan Virus

A couple of months after a woman from Warren County passed away, the Department of Health of the state has confirmed the cause of her death. According to them, they have confirmed that the woman passed away due to  a uncommon tick-borne disease that is the first New Jersey and in New York. The unnamed victim developed symptoms, which included high temperature, headache, rashes, and encephalitis. Her death last year of May was caused by the Powassan virus, a disease that is rare and only eight other people have been diagnosed in the U.S. this year.

This virus is transmitted by two different ticks - deer tick and woodchuck tick. Another dreaded tick-borne disease, Lyme disease, is spread by the deer tick. Death from Lyme disease is uncommon but the Powassan virus is deadly in 10% of cases.  Half of those who survived will have neurological complications like paralysis.

However, residents should not worry because not a lot of ticks in the area are infected. Only 1% of the adult stage ticks are  infected by the Powassan virus.

Borrelia Miyamotoi

Another type of disease was found with Anna Felix, an 81 year old, New Jersey resident. Although she also showed symptoms of Lyme disease, she tested negative. Lab technicians at Hunderdon Medical Center examined her spinal fluid and found an unusual strain of bacteria that they had never seen before. They confirmed that the strain they found was the bacteria Borrelia myamotoi, a new disease transmitted by the same deer tick that creates Lyme disease. Felix is the first American case of this new disease, and she was fortunate to have survived it.

Symptoms of the new disease are similar to Lyme disease, which include flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, nausea and muscle pain, although they do not include the rash that commonly develops with Lyme.

The good news with the virus Borrelia miyamotoi is that it responds to the same antibiotic treatment for Lyme. However, if this is left untreated, this can create recurring fever, and may also cause confusion and dementia-like symptoms in some patients with compromised immune systems.

Babesiosis

Also, federal health officials are also warning New Jersey and New York residents with another tick-borne infection, which is babesiosis. This can be fatal in the elderly, infants, children, and those with weak immune systems.

The risk of ticks is highest for people who like to spend time outdoors, commonly in wooded areas. To protect against ticks, make certain to wear skin-covering clothes, especially when hiking or camping. It is also advisable to use bug repellents that contain at least 20% DEET, and thoroughly check your body and clothing once you return home. Parents should always check their children for ticks. And, of course, it is essential for pet owners to regularly check their pets for ticks and make certain that their pets be freed of ticks once they find that they have them.

Preventing tick bites should be your first line of defense for keeping you and your pets safe. Horizon Pest Control offers effective tick control treatment for your home and pets. To learn more about our services and programs, and to know how to combat ticks, schedule an appointment with us, visit Residential Pest Control.