Please Explain: Ticks

Friday, August 16, 2013

There are more ticks in more places than ever before, and over the past two decades tick-borne illness has increased, especially in the northeast. Dr. Thomas Mather, director of the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease and its TickEncounter Resource Center, and Dr. Thomas Daniels, Associate Research Scientist and Co-Director of the Vector Ecology Laboratory at Fordham University’s Louis Calder Center, tell us all about ticks, the blood-sucking arachnids that can spread disease and how to protect against tick bites and prevent tick-borne disease.

URI TickEncounter Resource Center
Tick Mouthparts.
URI TickEncounter Resource Center
Nymph on Dr. Tom Mather.
URI TickEncounter Resource Center
Bottles full of ticks.


Dr. Thomas Daniels and Dr. Thomas Mather

Comments [32]

To my knowledge there is some evidence that lyme and co-infections can be passed from mother to child in utero and sexually transmitted, which would account for Lyme and co-infections occuring where a bite never seemed to occur. In fact, there is some suggestion that some of the austism diagnosis is in fact "Lyme Induced Autism" as so much of the more severe Lyme symptoms can mimic characteristics of autism. It is a much more likely explanation, considering the growth tick population, than to simply say that autism cases have increased so. In either case, many therapies and treatments will overlap. However one might ask whether there would be more urgency or interest in finding cure / vaccines for Lyme, etc. if the medical community, insurance industry and pharma considered this more.

Aug. 22 2013 11:33 AM

i SAY KEEP YOUR LOINS CLEAN And yus wont get no tics.
UND be prudent at the sink when yus wash underdas nails.

Aug. 21 2013 01:38 PM

In my opinion, the best method to remove a tick by far is a product called "TickKey". It's much easier to use than pointy tweezers (as suggested on this show) and I think works better (I have tried both, plus other products). Unfortunately it's a rather expensive item (I paid about $10.00 for it), but it works very well. I am not associated in any way with this device and wish it were available at a much lower cost, but I carry one on my key chain and have used it successfully multiple times.

Aug. 20 2013 10:54 PM
Alexander Smart from usa

Did you know that the Robert Beck Protocol is one of the sure ways to eliminate Lyme disease. The Lyme disease pathogen does not "like" electricity (very low levels).

Aug. 16 2013 06:34 PM
J from Manhattan

Chiggers are not ticks. They are a type of mites.

Aug. 16 2013 02:03 PM
Edward Ornowski

When i was a France a simple way of dealing with tick removal was to apply ether to the tick, then removing before the tick has a chance of burrowing farther in. I believe it is illegal to purchase in the U.S. but i have never heard this simple process discussed.

Aug. 16 2013 02:02 PM

In response to John from nj - and deer hunters. Trophy antlers are great to brag about but frankly the females taste better - not so 'gamey'. We never shoot a male. Only Does - most of our hunting neighbors do the same.

Aug. 16 2013 02:01 PM
james andrea from brick, nj

Are "Chiggers" ticks?

Aug. 16 2013 01:57 PM

Once a tick lands on a person, does it stay in that spot, or does it travel (crawl) to a less-accessible location?

Aug. 16 2013 01:53 PM
z from toronto

I would not recommend keeping the tick in a zip-lock bag; they can eat their way out of it; it happened to us recently. something like a glass jar would work better.

Aug. 16 2013 01:52 PM
Smokey from LES

Ticks attach themselves in places you can't see. That's why it's best to have a buddy system. This can make for a very friendly party!

Aug. 16 2013 01:50 PM
Bobbie from Roosevelt Island

Are the treatments for Lyme Disease, babesiosis and other tic-borne diseases the same?

Aug. 16 2013 01:49 PM
Amy from Manhattan

When they say ticks are in "tall grass," how tall does that mean?

And please emphasize pulling a tick out slowly.

Aug. 16 2013 01:49 PM
Laura from Brooklyn, NY

I've had Lyme disease twice, most recently in 2006. This summer I am suddenly suffering a suite of Lyme-like symptoms--mainly tinnitus and fibromyalgia. Standard blood tests only indicate past incidence of Lyme, nothing current. Should I dig deeper? Can the spirochete go dormant 6-7 years and then re-surface?

Aug. 16 2013 01:48 PM

So ... can we say that there's been an uptick in incidents of this sort?

Aug. 16 2013 01:48 PM
Linda from NY

Please explain why there is no vaccine against Lyme and why is the lyme test so variable and not reliable.

Aug. 16 2013 01:48 PM
Pam from ny

Len--Please ask:
According to a Sen. Schumer press release, the Powassan virus causes debilitating symptoms similar to Lyme disease, but it is much more dangerous: ticks can transmit it in 15 minutes, compared to 24 hours for Lyme disease, there is currently no treatment for Powassan virus, and it is much more lethal – killing 30% of those affected.

Aug. 16 2013 01:41 PM
Frank from Brooklyn

I think better trail maintenance (wider paths, cut grass) would reduce the number of tick bites annually. You will find, at least on Long Island, that many many ticks are waiting on the tips of grass at the edges of trails. I get ticks on me when I have to cross grassy trail locations.

Aug. 16 2013 01:41 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Are commercial flea and tick preparations (Frontline, Hartz) effective for pets? Can they infect a pet before the solution kills them?

Aug. 16 2013 01:40 PM
John from Nj

The deer population "problem" you keep speaking of is created by hunters to perpetuate the sport of hunting.
Hunters want males therefore trophies with antlers. But if we only kill female deer there will be fewer deer next year. Allowing hunters to kill males guarantees more deer next year.

Aug. 16 2013 01:39 PM
Bonnie Brady Wyman from Connecticut

Why is there no vaccine for tick borne disease? My husband had ehrlichiosis early this summer and was desperatelt ill for almost 4 weeks. The only medication for this is doxyclclene which is as terrrible as the disease.He did not have Lyme.

Aug. 16 2013 01:39 PM
Jana from Manhattan

Please discuss the reasons why lyme is not an issue in Europe where they have a lot of ticks, and conversely why tick borne encephalitis (for which there is a vaccine) is a problem there but not here.

Also, what happened to the lyme vaccine that was created years ago?

Aug. 16 2013 01:38 PM
Shana from brooklyn, ny

It's my understanding that deer alone are not the culprit in spread of tick borne disease, but that field mice allow for significant transmission. Additionally, how much does a diversified animal population on the land help with Lyme and other tick borne illness? I have heard that where fox populations flourish, there is less incidence of Lyme because they control the mice population.

Please comment if you can. Thank you.

Aug. 16 2013 01:38 PM

In 2005 an up and coming college quarterback in Florida was arrested for acting erraticly while doing push-ups in the middle of an intersection and claiming he was God. Turns out he was acting in that manner due to brain inflamation caused by Lyme disease that had gone undiagnosed. What are the symptoms of Lyme disease to watch out for even if you don't know you have been infected?

Aug. 16 2013 01:37 PM

I recently visited in Rhode Island and found a little tick on me. What should I do next? And is there any cheap way to get treated if necessary? (I won't have health insurance till Obama Care kicks in).

Aug. 16 2013 01:36 PM
marc parrilli from woodbridge, nj

did anyone read the NY Times article in Sciencetimes a few months ago about how tick counts observed in moose in Maine have increased from 30,000 or so per animal to more like 100,00 per animal primarily because of warmer weather patterns not killing off as many ticks as in colder winters. same goes for deer.

Aug. 16 2013 01:36 PM
Penny from Downtown

Can you get Lyme from eating venison. If not, why not?

Aug. 16 2013 01:31 PM
Steve M from Morristown

My father-in-law is a taxidermist in NJ and my wife can infer tick density in the state based on where the deer her father mounts are hunted in the state, and how tick-infested the deer are.

Aug. 16 2013 01:30 PM

Time to start sterilizing deer?

Aug. 16 2013 01:29 PM
Jake from Millbrook, NY

Hi, I would really appreciate it if you could squeeze in either or both of these questions that I have had trouble finding answers for:

(1) My wife was successfully treated for Lyme disease even though she tested negative. Doc told us that this was because she does not produce antibodies due to an earlier splenectomy. In the absence of antibodies, can't they test for the microbes directly ?

(2) She did not go trekking through brush & tall grass, but I did. Could I have brought home a tick which jumped on to her ? I have a Lyme test scheduled, but neither of us can recall getting a tick bite.

Aug. 16 2013 12:42 PM
Jay from Cold Spring

What are the symtoms of tick-borne Powasson disease?

Aug. 16 2013 12:11 PM
George from Manhattan

What prevents Lyme-carrying ticks from being present in Manhattan? Are they present in Manhattan?

Aug. 16 2013 11:45 AM

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