The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is educating consumers on the threats posed by ticks during Tick Awareness Week, which is May 7-13.
Ticks are dangerous pests capable of transmitting debilitating diseases at increasingly alarming rates. In fact, one in five (22 percent) Americans know someone who has contracted Lyme disease from a tick bite, according to a recent NPMA survey conducted by The Harris Poll. In honor of Tick Awareness Week, the NPMA is spreading awareness about health risks associated with ticks.
There are nearly 100 different tick species in the United States, with a handful posing specific health threats, including anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Powassan virus, tularemia and more. There are two notable tick-borne illnesses on the rise across the nation:
- Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half a million Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease annually. This concerning disease is transmitted by black-legged (deer) ticks and is often recognized by a red “bull’s eye” rash near the bite site.
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is one of the deadliest tickborne diseases in the region. Transmitted by different tick species, including the Rocky Mountain wood tick, brown dog tick and American dog tick, RMSF can pose serious health problems if not treated early.
“As people head outdoors more this season, it is essential to remain vigilant about the threats posed by ticks,” said Dr. Jim Fredericks, senior vice president of Public Affairs for NPMA. “In most cases, ticks must be attached for more than 24 hours before transmitting any pathogen. Thus, removing all ticks in a timely manner is critical to preventing disease.”
NPMA is offering the following prevention tips to stay protected this tick season:
- Keep grass cut low, including around fences, sheds, trees, shrubs and swing sets.
- When outdoors, use bug spray containing at least 20 percent DEET and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, preferably light in color, so ticks are easier to detect.
- Once indoors, inspect your entire body, clothing, family and pets for ticks.
- If you suspect a tick infestation on your property, contact a pest management professional immediately.