Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the yard another tick-borne illness makes its presence known right in our backyards. According to The Boston Globe, more Rhode Island residents are testing positive for malaria’s next of kin, Babesiosis.
Babesiosis, also known as Nantucket fever, is a malaria-like parasitic disease that is primarily spread through the bite of a tick carrying the disease.The disease attacks the red blood cells of the body. In some circumstances Babesiosis has been know to be transmitted through blood transfusions as well. The disease is generally found in the northern Midwest areas of the US and New England states. Those infected with Babesiosis experience fever and anemia that in some patients is so minute it sometimes goes un-noticed. Babesiosis in its worst case scenario can resemble malaria-like symptoms like fevers in the 105 degree range as well as severe anemia. This can lead to organ failure and respiratory distress. Treatment for Babesiosis is similar to that given to patients that have malaria. So, even though this disease has not made as many headlines as the better known Lyme disease, it is still something to be very concerned about.
According to the article in The Boston Globe 15 years ago, Rhode Island averaged less than one confirmed case of Babesiosis per year, and last year an astounding 76 people tested positive for the disease.
Now that Massachusetts residents know they have to be on the alert for this debilitating disease, the next step is how do we prevent it? The answer to that million dollar question is easier than you might imagine. Education and prevention is the key to staying healthy and avoiding becoming a statistic of tick-borne illness and disease. Avoiding tick infested areas is key to prevention. The disease is so prevalent in the northern Midwest and New England states because the geography of the land in these areas lends itself to an abundance of lush vegetation and densely wooded areas. The very attributes that make our area so inviting to us is the same type of habitat ticks thrive in, in this case the beauty and lush vegetation of our lovely and desirable region may be our downfall.
When planning any outdoor activity make certain to dress appropriately by tucking pant legs into boots, and try to wear light-colored clothing so you can detect a tick on yourself sooner and remove it promptly before it has a chance to bite. Keeping your property trimmed, mowed and free of debris and brush is another deterrent for tick infestations. To ensure the utmost in protection have your property treated by a licensed professional as well.
Mosquito Squad of the North Shore can help ensure the safety of you and your family with our barrier sprays and tick abatement programs. We instill these two safe and effective measures to keep the threat of ticks and tick-borne illness away from you and the ones you love.