As ticks creep closer to home, a new danger emerges

“We’re seeing lots of ticks, and 15 percent are infected with anaplasmosis, and 40 percent with Lyme,” Callister said. “We’re seeing more cases of anaplasmosis every year, and we’re expecting to see even more this year.”

Excerpted from ( Posted: 04/27/2011 ) 

Ticks and Lyme disease are a way of life in the La Crosse area.

Most people know how to recognize the deer tick that causes Lyme and the symptoms of the disease. Most doctors know what to look for in the disease and how to treat it.

Ticks and Lyme probably don’t always get the respect and attention they deserve, said Dave Geske, vector control officer for the La Crosse County Health Department.

“There is some complacency with ticks and Lyme,” Geske said. “We all know someone who has had Lyme and has been treated, and they’re fine. But it is an ongoing problem.”

Geske said there should be a greater public concern about tick-borne disease today because ticks are making their way into our backyards and a new disease, anaplasmosis, is emerging in the La Crosse area.

“People see more ticks in their backyards and they see them on their dogs and children,” Geske said. “Small mammals, mice and even rabbits are good hosts of ticks.

“The potential for human disease is greater now with ticks,” he said. “In nature, ticks are so well-established and we are surrounded by not-so-healthy wooded areas, and then we add our own backyards to the problem.”

People should clear tall grasses and brush around their houses, which can attract unwelcome mammals, and keep their yards mowed and clean, he said.

La Crosse area health officials also are seeing more cases of anaplasmosis, carried by the same deer tick that causes Lyme disease.

Symptoms of anaplasmosis are similar to Lyme, such as fever, headache and body aches, but people don’t get a rash with anaplasmosis. Most people feel worse with more severe headaches and body aches than Lyme, according to Dr. Todd Kowalski, a Gundersen Lutheran physician specializing in infectious diseases.

Gundersen Lutheran researchers have been monitoring anaplasmosis the past five years and reported 50 human cases during their first three years of research.

 For the complete article:

~ by Rob on April 27, 2011.

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