Ticks Invade the Trails - Page 3
Detecting Lyme disease
Dr. Pritt says early detection and treatment is key to managing symptoms. “Lyme disease can be effectively treated with an antibiotic, but untreated disease can progress to joint pain, arthritis, facial paralysis on one side of the face, other nervous system problems and chronic problems with fatigue,” she says. “It is critical to recognize and treat disease as early as possible.”
One tell-tale symptom of Lyme disease is a large, red “bulls-eye” type rash surrounding the area of the infecting bite, according to Dr. Pritt, though this does not occur in all cases. Fever, chills, headache and joint pain can also indicate an infection. A blood test can confirm whether you have Lyme disease.
Other tick-borne illnesses
While Lyme disease is mostly restricted to northeast, mid-Atlantic and upper-Midwest states, it is not the only illness that ticks can transmit. Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a rarer but potentially life-threatening infection that can be contracted—contrary to the name—in most parts of the United States, especially southeastern states. Symptoms of RMSF include headache, fever, muscle pain and vomiting.
Babesiosis can cause severe anemia and other circulatory complications and is often asymptomatic, though in some cases flu-like symptoms (fever, fatigue, muscle aches) develop. It is most common in the northeast and upper Midwest, as is anaplasmosis, another potentially fatal infection that is preceded by flu-like symptoms and (in rare cases) a rash. Ehrlichiosis is the name ascribed to several bacterial infections transmitted by ticks that also causes flu-like symptoms.
Tularemia is a bacterial infection transmitted by flies as well as ticks that can cause open ulcers at the site of a bite, and southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI) can cause a rash similar to that caused by Lyme disease, and is often accompanied by fever, headache and muscle pains.