In unfortunate news, populations of a new, aggressive human-biting tick have been discovered in Connecticut and are rapidly spreading across the state. It is currently unknown how The Lone Star Tick, or Amblyomma americanum, entered the Connecticut area as it is native to the southwestern portion of the United States. This invasive species has been known to cause a myriad of fatal diseases, such as tularemia, ehrlichiosis, rickettsiosis, Heartland virus disease and Bourbon virus disease.
“The introduction of a new species of disease-bearing tick to Connecticut is both unsurprising and quite concerning. Physicians have to be versed in the identification of this tick species, as well as diagnosis and treatment of the diseases it can carry. For citizens of Connecticut, it serves as a reminder of proper tick bite avoidance and prevention.”Dr. Keith Yimoyines of Tolk Wellness Center, in Avon, CT. “
There are many possible reasons for the Lone Star Tick expansion across the United States, although researchers are hypothesizing that this is most likely due to rising global temperatures, reforestation and increased travel and transportation of economic goods across state lines.
While populations are mainly concentrated in the Fairfield and New Haven Counties, Connecticut residents are advised to practice simple tick-prevention strategies as the weather warms and the populations potentially spread further.
Effective tick-prevention strategies include:
- Wear light-colored clothes for outdoor activities.
- Wear closed-toed shoes
- Tuck pants into your socks.
- Use a Cedarwood oil-based natural tick repellent.
- When hiking, stay on trails and avoid wooded areas and tall grasses.
- Carefully inspect the body for ticks immediately upon coming inside from outdoor activities. Many tick bites do not cause itching, pain or redness.
- Wash and machine-dry clothing upon arriving home from outdoor activities.
- If you find a tick, remove it with thin-tipped tweezers as close to the mouth as possible.
- Do not stun the tick with petroleum jelly, fire, alcohol or any other liquid. These methods can increase the chance of infection.
- Save the tick in a crush-proof container for testing. Both the state lab and private companies will test for a variety of tick-borne diseases.
Visit www.TolkWellnessCenter.com for more information on avoiding ticks and preventing their potential fatal diseases.