Tick season brings dangers – be prepared

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BRANSON MO NEWS: As the summer officially begins and outdoor activities start in full swing, there is an important health hazard to keep an eye on, and it isn’t the sun. Summer is tick season. There are four species of ticks that live in Missouri – the American dog tick, blacklegged tick, brown dog tick and lone star tick. Each of these ticks may bite humans as well as other mammals, like dogs and cats.These eight-legged arachnids live in the woods and grasses in Missouri. They’re small, sometimes around the size of a sesame seed, but when they bite, they can pack a punch. 

Tick bites caused 48,000 diseases nationwide in 2016, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between 2004 and 2016, more than 6,000 tick-borne diseases were reported in Missouri. Ticks can carry diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, tularemia and Bourbon virus. They have also been known to carry Zika virus and West Nile virus.Tick-borne disease counts have been on the rise since 2004, tripling in frequency between that year and 2016, and nine new germs have been discovered being spread by mosquitoes and ticks since 2004, according to the CDC. In the last decade, a new tick-borne illness has arisen. Bites from the Lone Star tick can carry a sugar molecule called galactose-alpha-1, 3-galactose – commonly known as Alpha-Gal. A bite can introduce the Alpha-Gal molecule to your immune system, which can cause a delayed allergic reaction, according to National Geographic. “The tick bite spreads Alpha-Gal … and that comes from the tick biting other animals,” Charlotte Lindquist, the nursing project coordinator at Cox Health in Branson, said. “We do not have the Alpha-Gal (molecule) so we see that as foreign when the tick bites us. It spreads it into us, and our bodies are like, ‘We’ …



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