Lyme Disease and Animals

Jan 25, 2012 Comments Off on Lyme Disease and Animals

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Ticks are a carrier of Lyme disease. Please see the information below to learn about Lyme disease and the facts about it in Texas.

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi (boar-ELL-ee-uh burg-dorf-ERR-eye). Within 1 to 2 weeks of being infected, people may have a “bull’s-eye” rash with fever, headache, and muscle or joint pain. Some people have Lyme disease and do not have any early symptoms. Other people have a fever and other “flu-like” symptoms without a rash.

After several days or weeks, the bacteria may spread throughout the body of an infected person. These people can get symptoms such as rashes in other parts of the body, pain that seems to move from joint to joint, and signs of inflammation of the heart or nerves. If the disease is not treated, a few patients can get additional symptoms, such as swelling and pain in major joints or mental changes, months after getting infected.

an animals transmit Lyme disease to me?

Yes, but not directly. People get Lyme disease when they are bitten by ticks carrying B. burgdorferi. Ticks that carry Lyme disease are very small and can be hard to see. These tiny ticks bite mice infected with Lyme disease and then bite people or other animals, such as dogs and horses, passing the disease to them.

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How can I protect myself from Lyme disease?

Whenever possible, you should avoid entering areas that are likely to be infested with ticks, particularly in spring and summer when nymphal ticks feed.
If you are in an area with ticks, you should wear light-colored clothing so that ticks can be spotted more easily and removed before becoming attached.
If you are in an area with ticks, wear long-sleeved shirts, and tuck your pants into socks. You may also want to wear high rubber boots (since ticks are usually located close to the ground).
Application of insect repellents containing DEET (n,n-diethyl-m-toluamide) to clothes and exposed skin, and permethrin (which kills ticks on contact) to clothes, should also help reduce the risk of tick attachment. DEET can be used safely on children and adults but should be applied according to Environmental Protection Agency guidelines to reduce the possibility of toxicity.
Since transmission of B. burgdorferi from an infected tick is unlikely to occur before 36 hours of tick attachment, check for ticks daily and remove them promptly. Embedded ticks should be removed by using fine-tipped tweezers. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.
You can reduce the number of ticks around your home by removing leaf litter, and brush- and wood-piles around your house and at the edge of your yard. By clearing trees and brush in your yard, you can reduce the likelihood that deer, rodents, and ticks will live there.

How can I find more information about Lyme disease?

Learn more about Lyme disease, including answers to frequently asked questions, the natural history of Lyme disease and a narrated documentary, at CDC’s Lyme disease web site.

*Information provided by the CDC website please click link to see their site – http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/diseases/lyme.htm

TEXAS LYME FACTS

Lyme disease has surpassed AIDS as one of the fastest growing infectious epidemics in our nation, with a cost to society measured in the billions of dollars.

Lyme disease is the most common vector borne disease in the state.

Lyme disease is endemic in Texas and physicians need to be familiar with it.

In Texas, there are 11 public health regions. Patients with Lyme disease reside in every public health region in Texas.

Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme disease has been detected in Texas ticks.

Epidemiological evidence suggests Amblyomma americanum, the “Lone Star” tick, is the vector of Lyme disease in Texas. This is an aggressive species that will feed on a variety of hosts including humans. In a Texas Department of Health study conducted in 1990 and 1991, A. americanum ticks were gathered from nine Texas areas. Of the over 28,000 ticks collected, 26,901 or 95% were A. americanum. Visitors to any area with high vegetation are at considerable risk of being bitten by lone star ticks and are at risk of acquiring Lyme disease.

There are four reportable tick-borne illnesses in Texas: ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, rocky mountain spotted fever and tick-borne relapsing fever. Patients in Texas have also been diagnosed with babesiosis, a malaria-like, tick-borne illness with recurring fevers.

Failure to report is a Class B misdemeanor under the Texas Health and Safety Code, Section 81.049, but this provision is rarely, if ever, enforced.

Texas is a passive surveillance state; and it is likely that there is considerable underreporting of tick-borne illnesses.

Lyme disease is not a simple, rare illness that is easy to avoid, difficult to acquire, simple to diagnose and easily treated and cured.

It is best to rely on exposure history and compatible signs and symptoms for the diagnosis of Lyme disease.

The longer the time between tick bite infected with Borrelia burgdorferi and diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, the more likely the illness will be serious and increaser the cost of treatment.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

Many doctors in Texas believe Lyme disease is not endemic in Texas; patients are often told by doctors in Texas that there is no Lyme disease in Texas.

Many patients must go out of state to get diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.

Tick-borne illnesses can be extremely debilitating and even deadly.

Physicians and the public need to be educated about tick-borne illnesses.

NOTE:

The information on this page is for educational purposes only.
Texas Lyme Disease Association cannot diagnose you or tell you how to treat your illnesses. We are not doctors, we are just a group of people sharing the information as it relates to our own personal experiences. We wish you all well.

Texas Lyme facts provided by Texas Lyme Disease Association please click link for all information – http://www.txlda.org/facts.htm

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