Ticks are all over Tennessee, so is the possibility of getting a tick-borne disease. I, in fact, pulled one off the head of my nephew this weekend who was over for my kid’s birthday party. Not sure if the tick fell on his head in our yard or he showed up with it the creepy little blood sucker. Ticks are known to pass along some pretty nasty diseases.
Tick-Borne Disease in Tennessee
Ehrlichiosis is a disease caused by at least three different ehrlichial species in the United States and is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected tick. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and muscle aches. Usually, these symptoms occur within 1-2 weeks following a tick bite.
Heartland virus belongs to a family of viruses called Phleboviruses. Viruses in this family are found all over the world and most of the phleboviruses that cause people to become ill are passed through the bite of a mosquito, tick or sandfly. Since Heartland virus disease was first described in 2012 and there have only been a few cases, scientists are still learning about it. All patients diagnosed with Heartland virus disease had a fever and felt very tired. Some also complained of headaches, muscle aches, diarrhea, losing their appetite or feeling sick to their stomach.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the second-most problematic tickborne illness in the United States with about 2,000 reported cases per year. Initial symptoms are fever and rash, which may be accompanied by/with malaise, headaches, chills, and gastrointestinal distress. The rash is where this fever gets its name, and it usually starts on the extremities and spreads throughout the body, but in rare cases, some people do not get a rash.
Tularemia is caused by the bacteria Francisella tularensis and is transmitted to humans not only by the bite of infected ticks, and also by deer flies and other insects. People may also become infected through contact with infected animals or infected carcasses, by inhaling airborne bacteria, and ingestion of infected food or water. Symptoms often appear three to five days after infection, but can take as long as two to three weeks. Typical symptoms include fever, joint pain, chills, appetite loss, and malaise.
Lyme Disease & Powassan Virus are also found in our part of Tennessee though it is readily considered not a high-risk area.
Remember to protect yourself and your family when going into the outdoors from tick bites. If you take those precautions then you will have less worry about possible tick-borne diseases becoming a familiar part of your lives.