By now everyone is familiar with the term Lyme disease. Many people who live in the South think Lyme disease is a disease that only affects residents of Northern and Northeastern states. This could not be further from the truth. Lyme disease cases have been reported all over the country, with the only exception being Hawaii. Lyme disease is a specific concern for South Carolinians because every year the number of reported Lyme disease cases in our state is rising. Mosquito Squad of Columbia believes knowledge is one of the best defenses against tick borne illnesses such as Lyme Disease, Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis. Our goal is to not only control and prevent ticks in your yard, but to also teach Columbia residents the basics about Lyme disease and the ticks that spread this disease.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Each year, more than 30,000 Americans contract Lyme disease, an illness that can have lifelong effects including arthritis, fatigue and even neurological deficits. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged, or deer ticks. The deer tick becomes infected by feeding on small mammals who harbor the bacterium. Once the tick has become infected with the bacteria it can then transmit the bacteria to humans and other mammals. Lyme disease is most common during the spring and summer months.
Nymph ticks are the prime vector responsible for transmitting Lyme disease to people and pets. Adult and larval deer ticks are also capable of spreading the disease. During the immature larval and nymph stages of the tick’s life, it feeds from rodents such as mice. The nymph tick will live within the den of the rodent feeding at will, and maturing. The tick will then fall from the host and wait on the next host to latch onto. Nymph ticks are very small and can easily be picked by you or your pet while gardening, doing outdoor chores or even enjoying a long walk. The time of year when most of us are outdoors enjoying the spring temperatures is the time when the nymph ticks emerge to feed. Their size makes them hard to detect and thus to remove in a timely manner. According to the CDC, studies have shown that an infected tick normally cannot begin transmitting Lyme disease bacteria until it has been attached to its host about 36-48 hours. It is crucial to examine yourself at least once daily and remove any ticks before they become engorged with blood.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
Symptoms from Lyme disease can become apparent 3-30 days following the bite of an infected tick. In some cases the symptoms are so mild those infected with the disease hardly take notice that something is wrong. Some people may have the well-known bulls-eye rash associated with Lyme disease. The bulls eye rash is called erythema migrans and expands in a red circle at the site where the tick was attached. Other symptoms of Lyme (sometimes called Lymes) disease include fever, headache, and muscle or joint pain. Many people will experience a fever and flu-like symptoms without a rash. Other symptoms such as joint pain, rashes on other parts of the body or inflammation of the heart or nerves can occur. If the disease is not treated, some patients may experience additional symptoms such as inflammation and excessive joint pain (Arthritis), neurological disorders and mental changes months after being infected.
The prognosis for Lyme disease is good if the disease is diagnosed early. Patients treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely. The longer the disease goes untreated the greater the risk of suffering from acute symptoms that can persist for years. This is called Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome which also called chronic Lyme disease. Acute Lyme disease can continue for years, even following repeated courses of antibiotics. In these cases Lyme disease can greatly affect your day-to-day activities and your quality of life as a whole.
How to reduce your risk of contracting Lyme disease
Our goal at Mosquito Squad of Columbia is to reduce the risk of coming into contact with a tick that could potentially be harboring any tick-borne illness. Reducing your exposure to ticks is the best defense against Lyme disease. Utilizing a tick control and prevention program and exercising good tick practices when venturing into untreated areas is the first line of defense. We specialize in a tick prevention and control program that targets ticks during each stage of development. Our safe and effective barrier sprays eliminate adult ticks. Our barrier spray is used in conjunction with our tick tube program that targets the nymph tick. Tick tubes can reduce your chance of coming into contact with a tick on your treated property by up to 97%.
If you are interesting in learning more about our highly effective tick intensive control and prevention program contact Mosquito Squad of Columbia. When it comes to protecting your loved ones from ticks and the many diseases they carry an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Call