Tick Bites on Humans — Tick Bite Symptoms

Tick Bites on Humans – Tick Bite Symptoms

Tick bites on humans could be harmful and dangerous when you don’t give the right attention to it. Assessment and proper care is vital because bacterial infection could take place. The most number of bites, about 80%, are reported between May and September when ticks are very active. This is the time when the chances of contracting tick bite related diseases are high. You might want to be extra guarded especially if you are one for long walks in the woods or going to places where tick presence might be common.

Lyme disease is one of the most dreaded infections caused by tick bites. It is a condition that affects the joints and the skin and was discovered in the late 70’s. It is transmitted as a tick bites on humans and spreads the Borrelia bacteria in the process. The disease is widespread in Europe and North America and in other countries with mild temperature as ticks don’t thrive in sunny regions. If you don’t belong to these regions, you may stop worrying about Lyme disease but NOT about other infections due to tick bites.

Below are some tips you can observe and follow in case of a tick bite:

  1. Do not panic. Most bites are harmless and the result may be dependent on the type of tick infection.
  2. Observe a bite for three to four weeks. The ill-effects could take that long to be noticeable.
  3. When a tick bites on humans, promptly but gently remove a tick attached onto your skin. You don’t want to squeeze tick juices which may be injected into your blood.
  4. Use a pair of tweezers to easily grasp the pest and pull it off of your skin, its body and head as intact as possible.
  5. Never treat the bite site with alcohol or ether. The tick could increase its secretion of infected saliva and make matters worse.
  6. Make sure you seek appropriate treatment if the bite condition is more than you can handle.

The needs for professional treatment following a bite vary and often are a case to case basis. If you are able to extract the tick from your skin, have it checked at the clinic for an assessment so that proper course of action may be taken. In most cases though, bites may bring no harm and the redness goes away after some time.

Preventive Treatment for Tick Bites on Humans

While a tick bite is not always serious in most cases, there are some that may require preventive treatments such as the use of antibiotics. For that reason, the Infectious Diseases Society of America or IDSA states that professional help may be needed especially if a tick has been attached on the skin for over 36 hours and the tick is an adult, more so if it’s a deer tick. How bloated the tick appears may help determine the amount of time it has been attached. Infection may be prevented if an antibiotic is administered within 72 hours.

Other tick-borne infections like Lyme disease may still be treated with the right antibiotics even after some time from exposure. The effects of tick bites on humans differ that some people fail to identify when a Lyme disease is developing mainly because of lack of education. A significant characteristic of the disease is a noticeably growing redness on the site of the bite. It can grow up to 8 inches in diameter with the edges appearing like rows of deep red rings, the center a little paler. The lesion may be accompanied by a burning and itching sensation.

Sometimes a simple rash that follows after a tick bite can be mistaken for a Lyme disease but clears in less than 48 hours. Lyme disease, on the other hand, could take a week to a month before symptoms appear hence the advice to observe a bite for that given period of time.

In Conclusion

To avoid tick bites on humans and the ill-effects that could bring not only discomfort but health troubles, take adequate precautions. Because ticks are often found in bushes and in the woods, make sure to put on protective clothing if you plan to venture into these areas. Pets can carry ticks too so monitor tick presence on a regular basis so you can quickly get rid of them before they multiply.


Tick bites: What does a tick bite look like? Terrifying signs you have lyme disease

TICK bites have been labelled the most dangerous insect bites in the UK. This is because the bite could transmit lyme disease, a serious illness. It could be possible to identify a tick bite by looking in these areas.

  • Tick bites don’t look like much but the biting tick can remain attached for several hours, helping you to identify the bite’s location
  • Tick bites are dangerous as they could cause lyme disease, a life-threatening bacterial infection
  • Infections can be caused by bites from ticks, as well as those from other critters
  • Lyme disease causes a particular rash to develop, indicating the condition

Tick bites are dangerous as they could transmit life-threatening lyme disease, but often aren’t felt by the sufferer.

Answering what a tick bite looks like, the NHS suggested they could be hard to spot.

“Tick bites aren’t always painful. You may not notice a tick unless you see it on your skin,” they said online.

“Regularly check your skin and your children’s or pets’ skin after being outdoors.”

Stop the Tick campaign recommended checking several areas of the body for these bloodsucking spider-relatives if someone is concerned.

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Run by Care Plus, a health product producer, the campaign said: “Ticks can attach to any part of the human body.

“But, they are often found in hard-to-see tick-bite-areas.”

Places where a bite is likely include the groin, back of the knees, armpits, scalp, and in and around the ears.

Inside the belly button, around the waist and in and around all body hair should also be checked for ticks.

The risk of a bite increases if someone goes into wooded areas, nature parks, and grassy fields, where ticks are more likely to lurk.

Tick bites: What does a tick bite look like? You may not feel it happen (Image: Getty)

Insect bites and stings

Can you recognise these Insect bites and stings?

Insect bites and stings

Tick bites: The nips could result in lyme disease which can be life threatening (Image: Getty)

Tick bites: What does a tick bite look like? Terrifying signs your bite has turned into lyme disease

When ticks bite, they bury their head in the skin to suck blood and cling on outside the body.

This allows for the transfer of fluids between the person and the tick, which can result in lyme disease.

“Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by infected ticks,” said the NHS.

“It’s usually easier to treat if it’s diagnosed early.”

Early symptoms of lyme disease include a rash, which appears within four weeks of the tick bite.

Tick bites: These spider-relatives bite several different animals, including pet dogs (Image: Getty)

To prevent a tick bite, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the US recommends four different precautions. Undertaking these could stop an unpleasant nip and help avoid lyme disease.

“Spending time outside walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks,” they said online.

Treating clothes with a substance called permethrin, using insect repellants and avoiding wooded and bushy areas could all help reduce the risk of a tick bite.

“Tick exposure can occur year-round,” continued the organisation, “but ticks are most active during warmer months (April — September).


Ixodid tick: what is it and what is a dangerous bite for a person?

Quick Facts on Babesiosis

· Babesia microti and Babesia divergens are parasites transmitted by ticks

· Human are accidental hosts of the babesia parasite

· Babesia is a blood-borne disease, therefore many of its symptoms can mimic those of malaria

· Infected persons can normally recover if they are treated with clindamycin and oral quinine

Я Babesia microti

The picture on the left shows the blood smear of a person who is infected by the Babesia microti parasite. The rings within the blood cells are the parasite.

Q: What is Babesia?

A: Human babesiosis , more commonly known as babesia is a rare, blood-borne disease which is transmitted by ticks and found in both North America and Europe . Babesia is caused by the Babesia microti and Babesia divergens parasites, both of which are members of the protozoan kingdom. The parasite will enter a human host when an ixodid tick, which is the definitive host of babesia, bites a human host and transfers the parasite while taking

The arrows in the above picture are pointing at the babesia parasite within the red blood cells.

its blood meal. An infected person, however, generally will not show signs of the disease for about 1-4 weeks. After this incubation period has ended, a person will show non-specific disease signs and symptoms such as malaise, fever, headache and chills.

The top right pictures show the blood stain of a babesia infected individual; while the top left two pictures show the blood of a malaria infected individual. Notice the similar ring stages in each smear. The babesia infection can be differentiated from the malarial infection by the presence of a “Maltese Cross,” it appears as an X-like structure in some of the blood cells .

To be babesia… or malaria.

The most intriguing aspect of babesia is its striking similarity to malaria. Both are diseases caused by protozoan infections which manifest themselves in the human blood stream. These two diseases also have similar clinical presentations; they both have similar symptoms such as fever, malaise, and occasional anemia. Furthermore, they can also appear similar under a microscope; both have many stages in which they appear as rings with red blood cells. These similarities make it difficult to know the prevalence and incidence of babesia in malaria endemic countries.

The above map on the right shows distribution of different species of ticks across the continental United States . Ixodes dammini , located primarily along the East Coast, is the species of tick believed to pass babesia to humans. The above map on the left shows the distribution of white-footed mice, a reservoir of babesia. Note the overlap in the habitats of the vector and reservoir.

How serious of a problem is babesia?

Although babesia can be fatal, most of the case fatalities have been in persons who were previously immunocompromised ; the majority of the U.S. case fatalities have been in patients who were asplenic . Those who do succumb to the disease generally die from renal failure. Most patients can recover if they are diagnosed quickly and treated with the proper drugs.

While a babesia infection is undoubtedly unpleasant and potentially life threatening, it is not a major threat in Europe or North America . America reports only 5-6 cases of babesia per year and about 95% of all victims recover from the infection. Furthermore, proper precautions against tick bites can also protect people who spend extensive amounts of time in woodland areas.

The History of Babesia

Babesia was first described in Roman cattle in 1888, the species that infects cattle is Babesia bovis . Babesia was first identified in humans in 1957 in the former Yugoslavia . The first US case was reported in 1969 in Nantucket . Since that time, there have been 300 reported cases of Babesia, mostly in the Northeastern states.

The map of Europe on the left depicts countries which are at risk for babesia infections. The first recorded case occurred in the former Yugoslavia .

Comparison of United States and European Babeiosis

Springtime in Paris ?

The table on the above compares the main differences between cases of babesiosis in America and Europe . Note that there is much higher morbidity in America but higher mortality in Europe

The Life and Death of Babesia

Babesia Life Cycle

Life Cycle: The life cycle of the parasite fluctuates principally between the tick and mouse hosts.

(1) Typically, the sporozoites are introduced into the tick through the bite of an infected animal, which can be a mouse or another kind of small mammal. (2) The babesia then undergoes an asexual reproductive stage where it transforms into merozoites and trophozoites and eventually (3) gametocytes. Because asexual reproduction can occur within white-footed mice, they are reservoirs for babesia. (5) The babesia parasite can then undergo sexual reproduction in the tick; therefore, the tick is also its definitive host. (6) If the tick bites any unaffected animals, including humans, it can transfer the sporozoites to the new host and cause disease in humans.

Upper Left: White-footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus , is an animal reservoir of babesia.

Upper Right: Photo of deer tick, the vector of babesia. Ticks are typically 1-5mm in length.

Lower Right: Scanning electron micrograph of deer tick. The tick will generally stick the green protrusion into its prey to ingest its blood meal.

It’s a zoo through and through… the animal players

While Babesia microti itself is a protozoa , it can reside in a variety of different animal species. The tick, Ixodes dammini is its vector and definitive host; the tick will pass the parasite sporozoites to mammals and sexual reproduction of babesia occurs in the tick. The tick will frequently infect white-footed mice with babesia and the parasite will undergo asexual growth in its mammalian host. Because the white-footed mouse can harbor the parasite, it is considered to be an animal reservoir for the infection. Humans can also be a mammalian host to babesia; Babesia microti and Babesia divergens will undergo the same life cycle stages in humans ( trophozoite and merozoite stages) as they do in white-footed mice.

Doctor, please… is it… babesia?

After a person is bit by an infected flea, humans will generally experience a 1-4 week incubation period before they begin to show signs of the disease. The length of the incubation period is related to the health status of the person; generally, healthier individuals experience a longer incubation period. Once the incubation period has

Directly Above: Drawing of a classical Maltese cross.

To the Right: The purple arrows show babesia in a ring stage in which it can be confused with malaria. The blue arrows point to the tetrad formation of babesia.

ended, infected individuals experience non-specific signs and symptoms such as fever, malaise, jaundice, a slightly enlarged spleen, headache, chills, sweating, and weakness. Significantly, many of these symptoms mimic those of malaria. The best way to distinguish between the symptoms of the two infections is that babesia does not have the periodic fever that characterizes malaria.

If a person is suspected to have babesia, they are generally diagnosed with a positive blood smear. While babesia can be confused with malaria, the tell-tale sign of a babesia infection is the presence of tetrads, often referred to as a “Maltese Cross,” within the red blood cells. The best chance of producing a positive stain is to draw blood while the patient is experiencing a fever or chills. While malaria has myriad stages of development, none of them resemble the tetrad formation of babesia. Other diagnostic tests include Giemsa stains, limited xenodiagnostics with hamsters and gerbils, IFA tests, and PCR techniques.

Babesia infections in America usually are not fatal, 95% of all victims recover. If people are diagnosed in time, they are often prescribed clindamysin and oral quinine. Chloroquine is also prescribed but it simply helps to relives the symptoms of the infection; the drug itself does not help to kill the parasite. Despite its low fatality rate in America , the disease can kill persons who are immunocompromised by spreading to the kidneys and causing renal failure. In Europe , the fatality rate is 50%, however, there is a much lower morbidity rate overall.

Hit ‘ em where it hurts – Epidemiology and Public Health Strategies

Babesia is a rare disease in North America and Europe with a total of about 330 cases between the two continents over the last 50 years. In malaria endemic parts of the world such as Africa and the Middle East , the incidence of babesia is unknown, since it is probably misdiagnosed as malaria, especially when doctors do

Left: Not all tick bites will cause a rash

Right: The life cycle of the deer tick, note that it is most active during summer and fall.

not have any technical equipment available to them. Despite its low frequency, the number of cases of babesia can be further reduced by following simply public health strategies. For instance, people should wear light covered clothing that covers their entire body upon entering a wooded area. Light colored clothing makes spotting ticks much easier. Furthermore, people can protect against ticks on their legs by tucking the cuffs of their pants into their socks. Although this may not be fashionably desirable, it is better than a babesia infection. Finally, ticks must have contact for 10 hours before they can pass enough sporozoites to cause an infection; therefore, immediate bathing and washing of clothes can protect against an infection. These strategies are especially important because not all tick bites cause itching or a rash, hence, a person could be infected even if they don’t see any evidence of being bitten by a tick. While ticks are active year round, they are most active during the late summer and early fall – these are the times when hikers and others venturing into woodland areas must take the highest precautions.

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References (Many images and information were taken from the pages listed below)


Dangerous Ticks

Residents of the Northeast and the Midwest know that ticks can carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. What most don’t know is that the same family of black-legged ticks can also cause other diseases that are even more dangerous.

The worst is Powassan disease, which generally kills about 10 percent of its victims and leaves half the survivors with permanent neurological damage. Only 15 cases of this rare disease have been found in New York State in the last nine years, but there is no treatment and 5 of the patients have died. Fortunately, only a small percentage of ticks in New York are infected with the Powassan virus — between 4 percent and 6 percent at sites in the hardest-hit counties, Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester. By contrast, the Lyme bacterium has been found in 35 percent to 75 percent of the ticks at sites in those areas.

Three other diseases — anaplasmosis, babesiosis and illnesses caused by a newly detected pathogen, Borrelia miyamotoi — are transmitted by the same ticks and can, to varying degrees, cause severe disability and sometimes death. In rare cases a single tick could make a person sick with several diseases at the same time, greatly complicating diagnosis.

Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, recently urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to allocate resources for research to understand the Powassan virus, create a treatment and learn how to prevent further spread. It would make sense to control this virus before it becomes a major threat.

Meanwhile, Lyme disease remains the most widespread tick-borne disease in the United States. Some 30,000 cases are reported annually to the C.D.C., but most cases go unreported because the symptoms are mild or mimic other diseases. The C.D.C. recently estimated that there may be 300,000 cases a year in this country, making Lyme “a tremendous public health problem.”

There are huge gaps in what scientists know about how best to diagnose, treat or prevent the disease. Researchers have identified the bacteria, known as spirochetes, that cause Lyme and the black-legged ticks that can transmit the disease from rodents and deer to humans. But they know very little about prevention. There is no vaccine on the market, so health authorities can do little but advise taking sensible precautions against tick bites, like wearing long sleeves and pants, using insect repellent and looking closely for ticks to remove after spending time outdoors. (Even infected ticks don’t always transmit the bacterium, especially if they are removed quickly.)

Lyme disease is best treated if caught early, when antibiotics can head off the worst consequences. But the early flulike symptoms, like fever, headache and fatigue, are so common that people may not realize they have Lyme. There is no reliable diagnostic test to identify Lyme disease within the first month after the tick bite.

Although most cases are relatively mild and easily cured, some victims are left with lasting injuries, like joint pain, persistent fatigue or neurological damage. There is controversy over whether these long-lasting effects can be attributed to Lyme disease or may have been caused by something else that does not respond to the antibiotics used against Lyme disease.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, has introduced a bill that would establish an advisory committee in the Department of Health and Human Services to help set priorities and coordinate federal programs for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

With little certainty about the best ways to address the problem, researchers ought to conduct trials of promising approaches to controlling rodents and deer that harbor the Lyme bacteria, study ways to kill the ticks themselves with fungi and plant extracts that are lethal to black-legged ticks but safe for wildlife, and develop new tests that can identify patients at the early stages of Lyme disease.


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