Lyme Disease and Other Tick Borne IllnessesJune 3, 2021 1:36 pm
Ticks carry a number of diseases, most notably Lyme Disease. They can create significant health risks for humans and companion animals.
What diseases can ticks transmit?
Ticks can transmit a number of diseases including:
- Borrelia Miyamotoi
- Lyme Disease
- Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiosis
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
- Heartland Virus
- Bourbon Virus
Which ticks transmit diseases?
Any tick can transmit diseases, but certain diseases are linked with certain ticks. All of the above illnesses are associated with ticks that are present in New Jersey.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme Disease is the most common tick borne illness in the United States. It is transmitted by the deer tick. A tick has to be present on the skin for at least about 48 hours to transmit the infection, so detection and removal of ticks is important in prevention.
How is Lyme disease treated?
Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. First-line treatments include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime for adults and children. Sometimes IV antibiotics are used if the Lyme disease is impacting the heart or brain. Once a patient is showing improvement, they may be switched from IV to oral antibiotics. The treatment is 7 to 14 days.
If a patient has developed Lyme arthritis, which can be a late-stage symptom of Lyme disease, they may have a longer (28 day) course of oral antibiotics.
What are signs of tick borne illnesses?
Signs and symptoms of tick borne illnesses vary with the illness and can show up 7 to 21 days after exposure. They include:
- Red spots
- Flu-like Symptoms
- Joint Pain
- Altered Mental State
How does a doctor diagnose Lyme disease?
A doctor can confirm a clinical suspicion of Lyme disease through serologic testing. The tests are not yes/no and interpreting the results depends on when symptoms onset. You may be treated clinically before the results are available or even if the results are negative, depending how certain the provider is of the diagnosis. The provider will ask you to get retested in 3-4 weeks after the illness to be sure.
How can I avoid tick borne illnesses?
- Avoid wooded or grassy areas
- Keep your yard clean
- Use insect repellents with DEET or other EPA approved repellents on skin and permethrin on clothing
- Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors
- Shower as soon as possible after being outside
- Inspect your body for ticks after being outside; use a mirror or a partner for hard-to-see spots
- Keep your pets safe from ticks
If I have been bitten by a tick, can I take an antibiotic to prevent Lyme disease?
If you are seen within 72 hours of the tick bite and the tick has been on you for at least 36 hours, you can be treated with a single dose of an antibiotic. This one dose has been shown to reduce the chances of getting Lyme disease. If the tick has been attached for a shorter time, there is no concern about contracting Lyme disease.
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This post was written by CJ Urgent Care of NJ