Uncommon, Dangerous Tick-borne Disease Confirmed in the United States, New York State
The summer of 2017 in the Northeast United States was expected to be one of the worst in modern-day history in terms of increased tick populations and the risk of tick-borne viruses in humans, and so far, it’s been pretty spot-on.
“It’s been a historical year in terms of ticks and tick-borne virus activity,” Catseye Pest Control wildlife expert Paul Dube said. “The Northeast United States is one of the hot spots for this activity, too.”
What was once a well-calculated hypothesis has become a stark reality. We’ve told you about the increased risk of Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and now we warn of Anaplasmosis, another tick-borne disease transmitted via a tick bite.
What is Anaplasmosis?
Anaplasmosis is a potentially fatal illness caused by the pathogen Anaplasma phagocyte hilum typically carried by deer ticks (black-legged ticks), which are commonly found in the Northeast and the upper Midwest United States.
The first symptoms usually begin a week or two after having been bit by an infected tick. Common symptoms of Anaplasmosis are similar to those of Lyme disease: high fever, headache, muscle pain, exhaustion, chills, nausea, stomach pain, and a cough.
Cases of Anaplasmosis are growing in Rensselaer County, New York, where eight cases were reported on Friday, July 7, 2017, alone. Five of those Anaplasmosis cases reported came from the town of Castleton, prompting county officials to issue an alert to county residents.
Eighty-five cases of Anaplasmosis have been confirmed since May 1, 2017, according to Rensselaer County public health director Mary Fran Wachunas. When compared to the total of 109 confirmed cases for all of 2016, it’s apparent that the growing concern is valid, as 2017 is on pace to surpass 200 cases of Anaplasmosis.
Like Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis can be difficult to diagnose due to symptoms being miscategorized. With the proper course of treatment (often 10 to 14 days of an antibiotic) people suffering from Anaplasmosis make a full recovery.
“Anaplasmosis is hard to detect from a healthcare point of view,” Dube said. “People who contract it may not show all, or any, symptoms and the development of a rash is rare.
“The best way to prevent this illness is the same way for any of the diseases from ticks: Avoid tick bites as much as possible by wearing long sleeves and pants when walking through the woods or working around brush. Using approved repellents will help keep ticks off your clothing, and lastly, thorough body checks after being in areas of potential tick activity.”
If you suspect that you’ve been bitten by a tick and are showing any of the aforementioned symptoms, seek medical help immediately. For more information on ticks and how to protect your property and family from potential tick problems including Anaplasmosis, reach out to our team of professionals.