Because Lyme disease has some pretty severe symptoms that can last even after the patient has been cured, the CDC has tried to establish an analysis on the ticks which cause this illness to spread. The results of this study are pretty dire, showing how Lyme disease-carrying ticks have spread over almost 50% of the US territory.
The ticks which spread this illness, born by the infection with a Borrelia-type bacteria, are the black-legged and the western black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks. The latter is commonly found in the southern parts of the US while the black-legged tick is endemic to the northern regions.
According to the CDC’s analysis, black-legged tick population has spread across 46% of US counties, in comparison to the prior 30% tally from 1998. Southern regions have shown more or less the same number of affected counties, rising by 0.2% since 1998, spreading across only 3.6% counties.
Due to this increase in tick numbers, human infection vectors have grown as well, urging research teams to make further inquiries on the subject. There is a current need of making a conclusive report on the leading edges of area expansion, as well as effectively pointing out how and why the ticks are spreading at such a fast rate. One of the reasons why this might be occurring is believed by certain parties to be linked to both the increase in normal temperatures as well as the expansion of human civilization across the more barren parts of our country.
Contrary to popular belief, ticks are not present only in rural areas. As long as tall-grass environments are located in a city, the ticks are expected to surface as well. This is why the CDC urges the general public to check themselves and their pets for ticks after going through tall-grass or regular parks right when they return home.
Lyme disease is generally characterized by the presence of a rash near the tick’s bite. But according to medical studies, only 25% of patients have presented a redness in the bite’s area or have reported itchiness. Symptoms related to the disease are similar to those of the flu, with nausea, headaches and fever occurring in the early stages of Lyme disease.
If the illness goes untreated, the patient’s neck will present chronic stiffness, as well as multiple episodes of joint pains and migraines. Even after treatment has been administered, subjects still present regular joint pain episodes, and in 10% of cases, there is a high chance of short term memory loss to occur, as well as severe heart palpitations and the inability to move one or both sides of the face.
Bearing in mind the fact that Lyme disease-carrying ticks have spread over almost 50% of the US territory, the general public should exercise a higher degree of caution when traveling through grassy areas or when petting stray animals. Once a bite has been discovered, urgent medical attention is advised, with prescription medication and treatments being sure to follow a Lyme disease diagnostic.