Filed under: Activities & Attractions, Family Camping, Grandparent Hints and Tips, Holidays on the Road, Kid-Friendly Trips, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, RVing with Grand Kids, Traveling Tips
Tick-Borne Diseases Are No Walk in the Park
Several months ago I posted an article on ticks and Lyme disease based on information from the non-profit Rhode Island TickEncounter Resource Center: Top 10 Things Everyone Should Know about Ticks…And Stay Disease-Free
The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) and the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation are also spreading the word about one of the seasons’ biggest — but rarely mentioned dangers — the Deer or Blacklegged tick that transmits Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. People become infected with the Lyme disease bacteria when they are bitten by an infected blacklegged tick. Immature ticks (larvae and nymphs) are so small that they can be difficult to see. However, all stages of ticks need to feed on blood to continue on to the next stage—therefore these tiny ticks can be an important threat.
Campers and hikers and others engaging in outdoor activities should be aware that ticks are most active during the spring and summer months when they’re typically in their “nymph” stage. Because of their small size at this stage in their lives, these ticks can go feeding — unnoticed — for days, allowing greater time for infectious bacteria to travel from the tick to its human host, according to a TBDA news release.
Blacklegged ticks live in moist and humid environments, particularly in or near wooded or grassy areas. You may come into contact with ticks during outdoor activities around your home or when walking through vegetation such as leaf litter or shrubs.
Ticks are most plentiful in areas where woodlands transition into fields, meadows, or backyards. Deer paths through the woods are often loaded with ticks. Tall grass, leaf litter, woodpiles, and rock walls are also areas of high tick concentration. Where mice are present, ticks are usually abundant.
Lyme disease is the fastest growing infectious disease and the most common tick-borne disease in the country, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but there are numerous other diseases that ticks can transmit, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, erlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Colorado tick fever, and Powassan encephalitis.
It is unclear how many cases of tick-borne diseases are properly diagnosed or reported each year. Estimates indicate that only one out of every ten cases of Lyme disease is reported and that many people are misdiagnosed.
There were 29,959 confirmed cases and 8509 probable cases of Lyme disease in the United States in 2009; most of these cases are reported from the Northeast and upper Midwest. In 2009, Lyme disease was the 5th most common Nationally Notifiable disease.
The actual number of new annual cases is believed to be much higher than the number reported, partially because reporting criteria varies state to state. The number of cases reported annually has increased nearly 25-fold since national surveillance began in 1982. In 2010, 94% of Lyme disease cases were reported from the following 12 states:
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- New York
Lyme and tick-borne diseases have been diagnosed in all 50 states and most Canadian provinces, so even if you live outside of the Northeast, you are still at risk!
There is currently no full-proof diagnostic tool for Lyme disease, causing thousands of people to often go misdiagnosed and without appropriate treatment. Many sufferers of tick-borne illnesses are not even aware that they are victims of these diseases because they simply don’t have the facts. TBDA believes it is essential to raise awareness about tick prevention.
Note: This is Part 1 of a 3-part series about Lyme and tick-borne diseases
Part 2: Top 10 Tick Prevention Tips
I tried real hard to play golf, and I was so bad at it they would have to check me for ticks at the end of the round because I’d spent about half the day in the woods.
You May Also Like
- Keystone RV Introduces Atwood Helium Refrigerators
- Dry Your World with Pingi Rechargeable Dehumidifiers
- Leisure Travel Vans Introduces Slide-Out Living Room
- Zippo Introduces Innovative Outdoor Products
If you enjoy these articles and want to read more on RV travels and lifestyle, visit my website: Vogel Talks RVing.