What kind of ticks are in Maryland?

Maryland is one of the places in the United States of America that have extreme cases of tick problems. Cases of Lyme disease in Maryland have surged to 1102 in 2015. This is a disturbing confounding trend, given the fact that this is an illness that can potentially result in lifelong health problems if not treated early. But this isn’t the only illness that ticks in Maryland transmit. These pesky creatures are also carriers of Heartland virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, tularemia, Powassan, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, STARI (Southern tick-associated rash illness), Colorado tick fever, and more. If you reside in Virginia or Maryland, here are the types of ticks that you should be cautious about.

What kind of ticks are in Maryland?

In Maryland, you will find huge numbers of deer ticks on during winter. These bloody creatures impose dangerous hazards to humans. Though they are born pathogen-free, their way of feeding on numerous wildlife creatures contribute to their disease-carrying feature. When young deer ticks feed on deer and white-footed mice, they contract Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacterium that causes Lyme disease. This particular bacterium transforms into an infectious disease once it reaches the gut and travels to the salivary glands, making it easier to transmit to humans via an infected tick bite.

Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineous)

As their name suggests, brown dog ticks are more hazardous to dogs since they seldom feed on people. They are known for carrying babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever to dogs. Brown dog ticks can finish their whole life cycle indoors and they like to dwell in dry, warm space. They usually attach to the ears and in between the toes of dogs.

Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum)

This species of tick feeds mostly on warm-blooded animals, making it an even bigger threat if it reaches the household. Even if a Lone Star tick doesn’t carry the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, it can still acquire Borrelia lonestari, a bacterium that carries the infectious disease called STARI – a type of rash that can result to a lifelong allergy to red meat. The symptoms start from a severe itchy, hive-like rash and can lead to anaphylactic shock.

Are there Lone Star ticks in Maryland?

This tick is notorious for transmitting alpha-gal, a sugar molecule that impacts the immune system and can, later on, trigger red meat allergies. This particular species of tick is now on the rise in Maryland and they carry much worse illnesses.

Is there a season for ticks?

Ticks can become a health hazard at any time of the year, depending on the place that you reside in. However, tick season usually kicks off when warm weather arrives, signaling dormant ticks that it’s time to search for food outdoors. In Maryland and other places in America, tick season begins around March and April. When the temperatures start to drop below freezing during fall that’s when tick season usually ends. However, in California and some other places with moderate climates, ticks are active for the whole year.

Which ticks carry Lyme disease?

The deer tick is the main transmitter of Lyme disease in Maryland. Generally, it can be a severe crippling disease. This disease has flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, and fatigue alongside distinguishable bully-eye rash known as erythema migrans. When left untreated, the bacterium travels to the nervous system, heart, and joints, which can lead to worse complications.

The statistics of cases of Lyme disease abnormally increases from May and June, surges in July and August, and decreases in autumn. But in most parts of the country, this tick species are active even during warm days in winter, which means that it is a health risk throughout the year. Deer tick usually dry out during dry winters and this could lead to a huge reduction in their populations. According to a recent study, moister and milder winters can support the survival of these parasites. In addition, warmer and more humid climate conditions can also enable this tick breed to travel to much higher parts of plants where their chances of feeding on pets and people escalate. Fluctuating climate and other factors such as the type of hosts the tick feed upon are the primary reason why this illness is prevalent in Maryland.

But what drives the population to increase? One study found out that as the populations of tiny mammals such as chipmunks and white-footed mice spike, so does the tick population. These small forest-dwelling animals are favored hosts to freshly hatched larval ticks, including the brown dog tick, and they are full of Borrelia, which can cause Lyme disease. The abundance of tiny mammals including chipmunks and mice follow years where oak trees create unusually large crops of acorns and were termed as the masting phenomenon. However, this year of abundance was soon followed by scarcity as quantities of acorn depletes, which triggers Lyme infected ticks to look for another food source, specifically blood from pets and humans. White-tailed deer are usually linked to Lyme disease and ticks, but researchers discovered deer tick to be a weak contributor compared to chipmunks and mice.

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