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The incidence of tick-borne disease is on the rise in Ohio. Although there are approximately 12 different tick species that have been identified in Ohio, only a small number have been linked to disease transmission. Three species are responsible for nearly all tickborne diseases reported in Ohio – the American dog tick, the blacklegged tick and the lone star tick. The American Dog Tick, most prevalent in the Eastern half of the United States and the West Coast, is responsible for the transmission of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) .
Dogs, rodents, and other animals typically harbor the agent. In 80% of the cases, reddish-purple spots appear on the extremities and spread to the trunk, neck, and face. The American Dog Tick is not known to transmit Lyme Disease.
The adult Blacklegged Tick, formerly called the Deer Tick, is approximately 1/2 the size of a dog tick and is responsible for the transmission of Lyme Disease in the eastern United States. The preferred habitat for these ticks is woodlands. Some early symptoms of Lyme Disease include a bulls-eye rash, fatigue, headache, and muscle stiffness.
The severity of Lyme Disease symptoms varies greatly with the individual. Some patients develop only the rash, while a few experience recurrent, crippling arthritis. Still others may be bedridden with fatigue for long periods of time.
The Lone Star tick is responsible for transmitting ehrlichiosis in Ohio. It is a very aggressive tick typically found more commonly in the southern half of the state.
The organisms which cause illness are transmitted in the saliva of the tick while it is feeding (24 hours). The long period between attachment and commencement of feeding is important to the prevention of infection. Early detection and prompt removal of the tick will help to prevent infection. There is no guarantee that a tick, even if infected, will transmit a disease.
Simple guidelines to prevent tick bites:
To remove a tick:
Proper tick identification is essential in determining the potential risk of infection associated with a tick-borne disease. The Ohio Dept. of Health does provide a tick identification service for Local Health Departments and Veterinarians. If you are interested in submitting a tick, please click on the link below, fill out the form and contact our office to discuss submission protocols.