WASHINGTON — With the recent rainfall, the local health department as well as many local veterinarians said do not be surprised if you see more ticks not only on people but also on animals.
Kathy Sullender, Daviess County Public Health nurse recently attended a seminar on various types of ticks found in Indiana. The program, which featured Dr. Jennifer House, DVM and the director of the Zoonotic and Environmental Epidemiology Division of the Indiana State Department of Health, was sponsored by the Indiana State Department of Health.
“This program provided us with special training and new information on Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever,” said Sullender.
According to information provided to the local health department, there are 15 types of ticks typically found in Indiana but of the 15, only four species are encountered by people and their pets. Dog ticks, the lone star tick, the blacklegged tick, or deer tick, and the brown dog tick are what most people come into contact with.
Ticks can transmit a number of diseases to both people and pets. The four most common types of diseases transmitted from ticks are Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or RMSF, Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and southern tick-associated rash illness. Ticks can also pass tularemia, babesiosis, and several other viral diseases but these are not nearly as common.
In humans, RMSF, an acute infectious disease caused by the bacteria in both the American dog tick and the lone star tick, usually begins about three to 10 days after the tick attaches. Symptoms include rashes on the wrist and ankles before spreading to the rest of the body. RMSF can be treated with antibiotics if caught in the early stages. According to the brochure “Ticks and Diseases in Indiana” now available at the health department, there are usually around six reported cases of RMSF reported each year in Indiana.