Often, when we think about the cost of Lyme Disease, we think about the cost of antibiotic treatments and the cost of doctor visits to get tested. We also know that the severe cases incur the cost of hospitalization. While we don’t want to “go there”, there is no way we can quantify the cost of human life when Lyme Disease and other tick borne diseases take the life of someone we love.
With all of those costs in mind, let’s compare that to the cost of treating against ticks. If we had to put it in dollars and cents, how do you think treating our properties for ticks would compare to the cost of treatment after someone gets a tick bite that leads to Lyme Disease and they get it in your yard?
The Centers for Disease Control just released the results of a study in Arizona. Comparing the costs associated with premature death and disability, the cost of tick treatments is comparably very low.
The CDC reports that “medical expenses and lives lost cost four times more than RMSF prevention efforts.”
THE CURRENT ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER (RMSF) EPIDEMIC IN ARIZONA
Although not geographically close, it’s important to us to stay abreast of trends elsewhere, as the possibilities of it happening here does exist. In Arizona there is currently an epidemic of RMSF in the Native American population. According to the CDC there have been more than 300 cases and 20 deaths from RMSF from 2002-2014.
The outbreak of RMSF has proven to be particularly expensive. With 80% of cases requiring emergency room treatment it is extremely expensive to treat. Severe cases and cases where treatment is delayed can lead to the need for amputation of fingers, toes or limbs, heart and lung specialty care and intensive care treatment. Without treatment the average death from RMSF is only 8 days after the first symptoms occur. Twenty percent of untreated RMSF cases prove to be fatal.
WHAT IS RMSF?
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or RMSF is a tick-borne disease caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii transmitted by the American dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick and the brown dog tick. Symptoms can include non-specific flu like symptoms such as fever, headache, chills, sore throat, stomachache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. According to Massachusetts General Hospital symptoms can also include a non-itchy rash that may start on the hands, arms, feet and legs seven to ten days after being bitten. Treatment for RMSF is a course of antibiotics and treatment needs to be started immediately upon suspecting RMSF. Delaying treatment can increase a patient’s risk of needing hospitalization.
PREVENTING RMSF AND OTHER TICK-BORNE DISEASES
Eliminating ticks and tick bites is the best first step in preventing epidemics like what we are seeing in Arizona. While they have implemented successful prevention programs on Arizona reservations including using tick dog collars and treating homes and lawns, the cost of these programs has unfortunately proven to be an obstacle for maintaining the programs. The CDC reports that “medical expenses and lives lost cost four times more than RMSF prevention efforts.”
In central Massachusetts we face the realities of Lyme Disease every day. If we ever happen to choose saving money now over preventing tick bites with tick spray, tick tubes and other tick control methods we could be facing more casualties from Lyme. To continue to protect yourself and your family from tick-borne diseases keep up with your 6 C’s of Tick Protection and of course call Mosquito Squad of Franklin & Framingham for tick control treatment on your property.
Avoiding tick exposure and tick bites starts with your property, where you spend the most time outdoors. Mosquito Squad of Central Mass offers traditional barrier spray that eliminates ticks and mosquitoes on contact. Add our tick tubes to intensify the success of your season long tick control program.