Ticks are carriers of a number of diseases throughout the United States. However, ticks have different habitats and each carry different diseases. When you find a tick on you, it can be helpful to identify the type of tick, so that you can be aware of any symptoms you may develop. This can help you seek medical treatment much sooner. In Virginia, there are three types of ticks that carry diseases.
1. Blacklegged Tick
The blacklegged tick looks different at the different stages. As adults, the females have a reddish body with a black head and legs. The adult male is almost entirely brown with a lighter ring around the edge of its shell. The nymph is a light brown color. The nymph is actually the stage where it spreads the most disease. Blacklegged Ticks will spread anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Lyme disease.
2. Lone Star Tick
The lone star tick is a unique tick. The nymphs are a light brown color and more difficult to identify. The males have a patterned back, while the females have a single white dot in its back. The nymph and adult female will spread disease. The lone star tick carries ehrlichiosis and tularemia. Additionally, there have been cases where people develop an allergy to meat after a tick bite.
3. American Dog Tick
The American dog tick is also a common tick in Virginia. The nymph is brown. The adult male has a patterned back, while the female is mostly brown with a pattern right underneath the shell. The adult female is the one most likely to transmit diseases. The American dog tick will transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.
Symptoms to Watch
Many tick related illnesses have similar symptoms when they start. Most will start with a fever and a headache. There may be nausea and vomiting. Often a rash will develop which will help the doctor determine the they of disease. Lyme disease has a distinctive bull eye’s rash. Rocky Mountain spotted fever has a spotted rash that starts on the wrists and ankles. Ehrlichiosis will also have a rash. If you catch babesiosis you may jaundice. If you notice any of these symptoms after a tick bite, you should seek medical care.
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