Thanks to the collaboration between Lehigh Valley Health Network, Muhlenberg College and Penn State Extension, a multiyear study about ticks has been developed.
After the ticks from the forest have been collected, they are killed, and DNA is extracted, including DNA from bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
During these four years of study, researchers have found out that around 20 percent of ticks in the area also carry Lyme disease. Therefore, the target of the scientists is to find a way of preventing this disease from spreading.
According to a professor of public health entomology at the University of Rhode Island and director of the Tick Encounter Resource Center, Thomas Mather, because the public has little information about ticks there will be education programs about ticks so that people will know how to deal with this problem.
Right now, when people go into the forest and see an insect that looks like a tick, they quickly panic and crush it. Instead, they should know how to establish whether it’s a common tick or a blacklegged deer tick, which carries Lyme disease.
Still, the most common type of ticks which is encountered by people are American dog ticks which are not dangerous. According to Mather, it is not known yet what kind of ticks will dominate this summer season. The blacklegged deer ticks thrive where there is a lot of humidity and die if there’s little moisture.
At the beginning of the summer, ticks are only larvae and start feeding on mice, from where they pick up the Lyme disease bacteria. After ticks have reached the nymph stage, they could start feeding on humans the next spring.
For the next few weeks, ticks will be out feeding, so people should be cautious. Plus, nymph ticks are the most dangerous because they are tiny, and they can bite you in unusual places. Therefore, people often do not realize that they have been bitten by a tick.
Lyme disease symptoms are usually similar to the flu, and it can be noticed as an eye-shaped rash around the bite. However, if this disease is caught early, it can be easily treated with just antibiotics. But if it’s detected later, then other consequences might occur.
Experts advise people who go out, to stay on the main paths of the woods and to be highly aware of ticks. Plus, they should check themselves and shower after being in areas where ticks live.
If you have been bitten, then your best bet to remove the tick is to grab it from where the head meets the skin and pull it out with a very fine pair of forceps. The time for the bacteria to be transmitted from ticks to humans is around 24 hours.
Also, people should use tick repellent on their clothing and check their back, behind knees, and the groin area by waistbands. Last but not least, people should create a buffer between the woods and their garden to keep the ticks away from their lawn.