Ticks have been prevalent in Georgia’s moist and dense forest areas, with the highest population of some unique disease-spreading ticks like the Lone star ticks and blacklegged ticks. This makes the Georgians susceptible to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme disease, and other tick diseases. You can find a huge number of tick populations during the months – April and September and the winter season.
In Georgia, scientists have identified 15 types of ticks. But some are more significant and found to be a threat to humans. Recently, scientists at Emory University conducted research and have come out that Lone star ticks is spreading a new virus – Heartland Virus. This blog will cover the prominent type of ticks in Georgia with some preventive measures to keep yourself away from tick infections.
Prominent Tick Species in Georgia
Lone Star Ticks
This tick’s name is derived from their appearance that the females have a white dot on the back. They use the ambush strategy or questing to get on the host for a meal. Questing is a process in which the tick will wait for the host in the leaves of the trees or bushes by extending its first two legs in the air to grab on to the host at the right time.
These ticks detect their hosts through the release of carbon dioxide. If one gets bit by this tick, they are most likely to get pathogens into their system. It is crucial to stay safe from lone star ticks as they may cause threatening diseases to humans and pets like dogs and cats. Lone star ticks are capable of disease transmission such as agent Francisella tularensis, Rickettsia rickettsii, R Parkeri, Bourbon, and Heartland virus. In dogs, they may cause Hepatozoonosis.
Blacklegged ticks or deer ticks live for two years. They require three blood meals during their entire life cycle. They are the prime vectors of Lyme disease. The ticks can cause Borrelia miyamotoi. They are dark brown and become yellow when fed. They have black legs. Some years ago, these ticks thrive in the coastal regions. Due to the changes in climatic conditions, ticks have begun to populate inland areas across the United States. Deer Ticks can be carriers of Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Powassan virus.
People who tend to handle wild animals or pets are likely to encounter tick bites, although deer ticks do not specifically target humans. Adults are active during spring and fall. Habitats of small animals and birds are comfortable environments for these ticks. These ticks tend to live in water areas such as streams and rivers.
American Dog Ticks:
The American dog ticks are also known as wood ticks. The ticks prefer dogs as their host. They are known for spreading the bacteria which cause the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia. The adults look for hosts during spring and summer. The American Dog Ticks might be spreading diseases to dogs and humans via questing. After attaching to the host, the ticks may attach for 54 days to a year. It may depend on the host location, host availability, and temperature.
American Dog Ticks may cause tick paralysis in both dogs and humans. Tick paralysis is a neurological syndrome that is caused due to the salivary neurotoxin exchange of ticks to the host. The cause of this temporary condition is their saliva which affects the neurotransmission of animals and humans. Tick paralysis is life-threatening in dogs as the respiratory system may get affected. Some notable symptoms include heavy breathing, enormous saliva secretion (abnormal), vomiting, coughing, fatigue, etc. It is significant to meet the veterinarian if the symptoms of tick paralysis arise. These ticks are brown and have white markings. They tend to quest in those regions as it is best to keep away from these areas.
Preventing The Tick Population In Georgia
- Using skin repellents while going out on an outdoor adventure will be the best option to prevent tick questing.
- Check for your clothes for ticks after your outdoor encounter. Some may stick to your clothes and transfer to your body or pets later.
- Using permethrin on your clothes will prevent tick questing to your clothes and cause tick diseases.
- Follow government measures and follow certain tick preventive measures during your outdoor adventure, especially in the tick-infested areas.
Ticks thrive in various parts of the state of Georgia. Some of the most prominent and threatening disease-spreading ticks have been listed above. As humans are just incidental hosts, ticks are not a greater threat to humans yet. But scientists have discovered that global warming has increased the chances of ticks choosing humans as hosts. This may be a big problem in the upcoming years. So, it is crucial to prevent yourself and your pets from tick infections and tick diseases to lead a healthy and happy life.