There are thirteen species of tick present in Minnesota. However ten of those are considered soft ticks or bat ticks and with these there is little human interaction. So now we are down to three. These three “hard tick” species are the American dog tick, the deer tick, and the brown dog tick. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, most tick bites do not lead to disease. With the tick population on the rise in the North and Northeast United States, it is smart to recognize the possible diseases and symptoms that do occur here.
Identifying the Predator
American dog ticks are brown with white or yellow markings. During the course of a two-year life cycle, they are most active during the spring, but still active in the summer months as well. These ticks carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia.
Brown Dog ticks are brown with no noticeable markings. They cannot survive outdoors in a Minnesota winter. However, dogs can bring them into your home where they will survive and multiply. Female ticks can lay up to 3,000 eggs in hidden places around your home.
Deer ticks are possibly the most menacing of the three. With brown and red bodies, black heads and legs, these ticks life cycle lasts at least two years. They are most active during the summer, but cases of Lyme disease have been reported from between February to November. Other than Lyme disease these ticks also carry Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, and Powassan virus.
Detecting Tick Disease Symptoms
Tularemia: Symptoms begin to occur within 3 to 14 days of exposure including swollen ulcers at the site of the insect bite, chills, headache, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion. There are several different forms of Tularemia, and they can attack the skin, eyes, lungs, or lymph nodes. Ulceroglandular is the common form. Tularemia will be treated with antibiotics if detected early, but left untreated it can lead to inflammation of the lungs, infection in the brain or bones, irritation around the heart, and death.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever(RMSF): Symptoms can appear from within a week to 14 days including high fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, nausea, and insomnia and a rash that begins around your wrists and ankles. It responds well to antibiotics, but a lack of treatment can cause serious damage to your kidneys, brain, heart, and lungs. Blood vessel damage and eventual amputation are also possible. If left untreated, it can be fatal.
Lyme Disease: Symptoms including chills, fever, muscle and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes and a bullseye-shaped rash. Treatment with antibiotics generally leads to a full recovery. Left untreated chronic Lyme can occur. The symptoms of this include spread of the rash, Bell’s palsy, nerve pain, inflammation of the brain, severe headaches, arthritis, and shortness and breath with dizziness. Chronic Lyme can last long after treatment is over.
Anaplasmosis: Symptoms appear within 1-2 weeks including fever, headaches, abdominal pain, malaise and confusion, cough, muscle pain, and abdominal pain. Treated with antibiotics, patients should recover quickly. Severe problems can include kidney failure, breathing difficulty, and neurological problems, and even death if left untreated.
Babesiosis: Symptoms are similar to the above-mentioned illnesses, flu-like with fever, chills, headaches, body aches, fatigue, but the others are caused by a bacteria. Babesiosis is caused by a parasite that infects and destroys red blood cells. It can be very severe for those with weak immune systems and severe health issues. Complications such as low blood pressure, anemia, blood clots and bleeding are all possible. Some cases, though few, have even lead to death. Treatment for asymptomatic persons is often not required, and decisions for treatment will most likely be made per individual.
Powassan virus: According to the CDC many people who become infected never develop symptoms or it may take up to a month after a tick bite for symptoms to occur. Symptoms include fever, weakness, headache, vomiting, seizures, confusion, coordination and speech difficulties. Powassan virus can also cause inflammation of the brain and membranes around the spinal cord by infecting the central nervous system. Powassan virus can be fatal and can cause permanent neurological issues, such as headaches, muscle wasting, and memory loss. There is no medication to treat this infection, however, treatment of the symptoms may be necessary.
Some tick-borne disease in Minnesota are obviously more dangerous than others, but if treated, most people will recover completely. We recommend you make note of the date of a tick bite and keep an eye out for symptoms. If they begin to occur, contact your doctor immediately.
Planning a Defense
Prevention and elimination of ticks are the best way to protect your family and prevent disease. At Mosquito Squad of the Twin Cities, we suggest our barrier treatment spray to eliminate 85-90% of the ticks in your yard on contact and continuing for up to 3 weeks. Combined with our tick tube system and the 6 C’s of tick proofing your yard, we will work together to make your yard a safe place for your pets and your family. Call us today! We stand behind every service with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. (763) 434-2483