The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a public health warning about Ehrlichiosis, a potentially fatal disease spread by ticks in the United States. Organ failure and death can occur in the absence of prompt medical treatment.
Health officials from multiple states are trying to warn citizens of Ehrlichiosis, a disease transmitted by the Lone Star Tick, which is found in the south-central and eastern United States. According to the CDC, Ehrlichiosis can be extremely dangerous if medical treatment is not given promptly.
Ehrlichiosis can be life-threatening if antibiotic treatment is delayed. However, early medical treatment can minimize your chances of having a severe case. Symptoms include:
- Fever, chills
- Severe headache
- Muscle aches
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite
- Damage to the brain or nervous system
- Respiratory failure
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Organ failure
According to data collected by the CDC, Ehrlichiosis is more commonly reported in men than women. Also, people aged 60 to 69 with underlying conditions account for the highest number of cases. So if you fall into any of those categories, it's certainly worth keeping an eye out for any tick bites.
Lone Star Ticks feed on blood by latching on to a host and eating until they swell to several times their usual size. They often take bacteria from one host, like a deer, and then transfer it to another, like a human. About 24 hours after the tick begins feeding, the dangerous bacteria from the tick spreads to the host. Here's a map that shows the distribution of Lone Star Ticks across the United States:
Lone Star Ticks are generally very aggressive, with a tendency to bite humans whenever they get an opportunity. A white dot on their back can distinguish adult females. They can be found as far west as Texas and in Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, and several other states. To identify the ticks in your backyard (or anywhere else), here are several photos:
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This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered medical advice. Therefore, please consult a doctor before making any decisions that could impact your health.
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