New York is one of 13 states, which account for 90% of most tick-borne illnesses in the US. For Lyme Disease alone, the CDC (Centers for Disease and Prevention Control) reported 3,000 cases in New York state. This is, however, only one of 11 tick-borne illnesses in the US. Although symptoms are common among many of these diseases, there are differences that increase the importance of prevention and early diagnosis.
Here are some important facts:
- Lyme Disease symptoms do not appear in 20%-30% of the persons exposed. It can take 3 days to 4 weeks for symptoms to appear.
- Anaplasmosis symptoms, a disease that has doubled in the US since 2004, take 1-2 weeks to appear.
- Babesiosis symptoms often do not occur at all in infected individuals. When symptoms do occur, they often develop within a few weeks or months after exposure. Persons who are or become immunosuppressed may not have any symptoms.
The blacklegged tick is common in New York carries all of these diseases. Laboratory tests performed by your physician are the key to determine which of these diseases is present if you are infected.
Along with the time it takes symptoms to appear, if any appear at all, there are three more things to consider before we talk about the risks of delaying pesticide treatment until we know for sure the disease is in our area.
- Lyme Disease, in particular, is frequently misdiagnosed due to vague “flu-like” symptoms that patients often report. In addition, it takes two laboratory blood tests to confirm Lyme Disease, which can further delay treatments.
- Ticks are most active from late May through August of each year. They may remain active into early October depending on the weather.
- Blacklegged ticks travel a lot into new territories. Depending on the species, birds, rodents, coyotes and deer are often vectors or agents for the transmission of both the tick and the diseases they carry.
Now, as the expression goes, “let’s do the math”.
If an infective tick bites someone near us in early June for example, it takes two things for those waiting to use pesticides to occur. First, it takes symptoms to appear, which does not always occur in every one or in every tick-borne illnesses, as we discussed earlier. Second, it may take between 3 days to four or more weeks for symptoms to appear, depending upon the disease.
Once the symptoms appear, they must be properly diagnosed. In the case of Lyme Disease, the most common tick-borne disease, this can take 1-4 weeks in scheduling a doctor visit and waiting for test results. If the physician sees evidence of the bite and rash on the patient and the first test is positive, treatment can begin immediately. The first test physicians give can shows results within 30 minutes. If the first test is positive for Lyme Disease, the second is given after 30 days of the suspected infection occurred, in order to confirm it. Therefore, treatment may not begin in someone for 4-6 weeks if infected.
When comparing Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis to Lyme Disease, the numbers are better and worse. In the case of Anaplasmosis, diagnosis and treatment times are reduced by 50% compared to Lyme. In the case of Babesiosis, diagnosis and treatment may be twice as long, possibly several months.
Now, here’s the math:
We said earlier that ticks are most active from late May to August each summer. We know it can take 4-6 weeks on average before we know a disease is actually present in our county or region. If we wait to schedule pesticide treatment of our property for ticks then, we are only protecting our families and ourselves for 50% of the time in which we are most at risk.
Additionally, tick bites can occur any time of the year since ticks are whenever ground temperature is above 45° F. If warmer weather extends into the fall, our exposure to tick-borne illnesses is longer as well.
Consider what can occur in delaying pesticide treatment for ticks:
- cost of medical treatment for these diseases
- potential long term debilitating symptoms of these diseases, if misdiagnosed
- weeks of unnecessary exposure and risk to you, your family and pets until one of these diseases is correctly diagnosed nearby
- the additional time involved in exposing your family due to any delay in scheduling pesticide misting
Knowing these risks, there is little reason in delaying treatment of your property for ticks. Using a pesticide like the one used by Sub:BusinessName} eliminates ticks as early as possible in early spring through fall. In addition, we have a tick-tube program that interrupts the tick life cycle that further reduces the number of ticks on your property.