Meghna Chakrabarti of Radio Boston interviews Dr. Thomas Mather about Lyme disease, the role of deer and mice in tick-borne disease, tick habitat and life cycle, and finally TickSmart prevention strategies. Check out more interviews in our Resources > Interviews section.
Today I pulled out a dog tick out of my scalp. It was relatively easy to pull out as I only used my fingers to slide it out of my hair. At first, I did not know what that is, of course. After looking at it and comparing it to pictures and descriptions I determined it is a dog tick possibly adult, but fairly flat. Can this type of tick transfer any disease? If yes, how long does it need to feed in order to infect a person? Like I said, the tick I pulled out does not appear to had been feeding very long. Aneta, North Aurora, ILAnswer:
American dog ticks can be infected with Rocky Mtn Spotted Fever rickettsia, other less pathogenic rickettsia, Colorado Tick Fever virus, and rarely, with the agent of tularemia. However, in your geographic area, the dog tick infection rate is quite low for Rocky Mtn Spotted Fever and the other pathogens are not known to circulate there either. Hopefully, the only concern is a bit of a tick bite.
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Dr. Mather answers several questions about tick bites in this Q & A from Insect Shield
Read Insect Shield Q & A with the Experts