If you live in the Capital Region, you may have caught on the news last night that researchers at the Wadsworth Center of Albany, NY have found the deer tick virus in the Albany, Columbia, Rensselaer and Saratoga counties. The deer tick virus, also known as the Powassan virus, is a virus that causes tick-borne encephalitis, and can be fatal.
This news serves as a reminder of the dangers associated with ticks and their bites, and we urge everyone to take precautions to avoid being bitten. Deer tick virus, Heartland virus and Lyme Disease can all be transmitted through diseased ticks. An article by MedPage Today provided insight on the deer tick virus' rate of appearance in ticks and its risks.
"The infection prevalence of about 1% to 6% among these ticks is low compared with Lyme disease, which often is found in 30% to 50% of ticks, but it's still alarmingly high, giving you a one in 20 chance that the tick biting you might be transmitting a deadly virus," according to Richard S. Ostfeld, PhD, of the Cary Institute, speaking to MedPage Today.
Take care when being in environments where ticks may reside. Make sure to protect yourself, your family members and your pets. Ticks can hide themselves well in your cat and dogs' fur, which can pose a great risk to their comfort and health.
Remember these basic tips any time you go outdoors where ticks may be present:
- If spending time in grass fields or in the woods, make sure to wear long pants and sleeves, and check for ticks when you come indoors.
- Tie back long hair and examine it for ticks periodically.
- Use bug repellents on you, as well as on tents, sleeping bags and all gear you carry with you as you camp.
- Dry your clothes at high heat to kill any bugs clinging to the fabric.
- Keep brush and debris out of your yard and keep your lawn trimmed to a short length.
- Squeezing or burning a tick is not an appropriate form of removal or extermination. Proper tick removal requires gently pulling out the tick with sterilized tweezers. Wash hands and disinfect bite site before and after removing the tick. We caution against doing this at home as using tweezers runs the risk of the tick head detaching from the body and being left in the wound, which can cause disease. We highly recommend seeking medical attention for the removal of a tick.
Checking for ticks regularly while outdoors and immediately upon ending your outdoor activities is critical. While Lyme Disease transmittal requires 24 to 48 hours of tick attachment, the Powassan virus can be transmitted within 15 minutes.
If you have questions about the presence of ticks or other bugs on your property, feel free to reach out at any time with your pest control questions. We can be reached online or by calling 1-888-260-3980. We'll be monitoring news and research for further details on this report.