Optometry Today recently reported of a boy who contracted the Mediterranean spotted fever from the bite of a tick and it led to vision loss for two months. His mother noticed a rash but initially just thought it was sunburn. The vision then progressively got worse over the two month period until he was diagnosed and treated with the antibiotic doxycycline. Within 6 months of treatment, his vision returned to normal.
A young girl had a similar experience. She first suffered from skin lesions and a fever, it wasn’t until a month later that her vision began to fail. She was treated and 3 months later her vision returned to normal. Neither child suffered permanent damage, thank goodness. But there is a lesson here.
IT’S SUMMERTIME, KNOW YOUR TICK RISK WHEN TRAVELING
These are just a couple of examples of the dangers that ticks carry abroad. Of course, we know here in Massachusetts that ticks can carry Lyme and that it’s important to stay protected from them, but ticks can be found across the globe and if they carry disease here then it goes without saying they carry disease everywhere.
Therefore, it is really important to do your research. If you are planning a vacation you should be aware of what kinds of ticks exist in the regions you are visiting, what diseases they can carry, and what the symptoms of those diseases look like. This is true for travel within the country as well as internationally. The thing is if you get sick, especially AFTER you make it home, you may need to be able to provide your healthcare provider with suggestions about what to look for. The more information you can share about what you were surrounded by, the more quickly you can begin the proper treatment.