When we think of ticks and the diseases they carry, most of us think of Lyme Disease. Perhaps the reason is in 1975 Lyme Disease was first isolated as a single infectious illness in Lyme, Connecticut. In fact, 95% of the Lyme Disease cases reported in the US were from 13 states, with Connecticut and New York on that list. So is Lyme disease the most common tick-borne disease in Connecticut? The answer is clearly, No!
Living in Connecticut, you should know about two other diseases ticks carry because they are particularly prevalent in our region. Those diseases are Anaplasmosis [an-uh-plaz-moh-sis] and Babesiosis [buh-bee-zee-oh-sis]. Anaplasmosis occurs from a bacterium, while Babesiosis occurs from a parasite that infects red blood cells. Humans, dogs, cats, horses and other animals can contract both diseases.
The risk of Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis along with Lyme Disease increases in May through September, with the highest number of cases reported in June and July. Prevention of these diseases should begin as ticks become particularly active for the season. In Connecticut, this is in late April, early May. Ticks remain active through the fall each year as they progress through their life cycle, which is usually three years but can be even longer.
Four of the six states, including Connecticut, that make up 90% of the reported Anaplasmosis cases each year in the US are in the northeast, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Anaplasmosis cases occur more frequently in the US than those of Babesiosis by about 4:1. However, compared to other states both Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis occur in Connecticut more frequently than elsewhere.
In 2011, Babesiosis was reportable in 18 states and 1 city. In that year, the CDC developed a Babesiosis CRF (a disease-specific Case Report Form). Connecticut was one of 18 states where Babesiosis was prevalent, and where the state was reporting the disease for several years prior.
The CDC 2011 report on Babesiosis ranked Connecticut fifth in terms of the total number of cases reported, with 74 persons diagnosed in the prior year. Eighteen states reported 1,124 cases, with 847 confirmed. Of those 1,124 cases, 97% occurred in 7 of the 18 states, and included Connecticut.
Although there is no vaccine in the US for the three tick-borne diseases we discussed here, they are all treatable often with antibiotics. Unfortunately, they mimic other illnesses in their symptoms such as fever, headache, chills and other flu-like symptoms. In some cases, these symptoms may persist for weeks. Early diagnosis and detection of these diseases can be critical in getting well, especially in getting well quickly. Children, the elderly and people with a compromised immune system are particularly at risk.
Prevention is the best course of action in avoiding any disease and in the case of these, where no vaccine exists, it can be especially important in states where the threat is high, like Connecticut. The same protection you give your family also protects your pets. If you believe as we do, pets are family members as well and keeping them well is important.
Fortunately, Mosquito Squad of Fairfield County, Connecticut provides a complete tick prevention and control program for your property. The products we use are effective for everyone, including children and pets.
We recommend you contact Mosquito Squad of Fairfield County, CT to discuss our first line of defense to prevent ticks with our barrier spray. The same barrier spray we use to eliminate ticks is used in eliminating mosquitoes. Our barrier spray eliminates adult ticks in your yard or on your protected property. If you have a severe tick problem, we can also treat nymph ticks with our Tick Tunnel program. Our tick tunnels work at eliminating ticks in the nymph stage of their growth. We are committed to fully protecting your family and pets with these effective protection programs.