How Likely Am I to be Bitten by the East Asian Tick in Manassas?

east asian tick extermination
Image courtesy of Fairfax County via Flickr CC by N.D. 2.0
There have recent reports about the East Asian tick in the news. This tick has just been identified as establishing itself in the United States. This tick species is considered extremely invasive and it is hard to eradicate. At this time the East Asian tick has only been found in New Jersey, so it is unlikely that you will be bitten by this tick in Manassas. However, it will likely spread and it is something that you should be aware of in the upcoming years.

Can Ticks Make Me Sick?

The East Asian tick is a known carrier of the SFTS virus which has not been found in the United States. This virus causes people to become quite ill. Since it is a virus there is not a known treatment, instead doctors will try to manage the symptoms and help you recover. There is a mortality rate of about twelve percent. There are other tick-borne illnesses in the United states including STARI, Rocky Mount spotted fever and Lyme disease. However, these can be treated with antibiotics and cured if caught early enough.

What Areas Are Prone to Ticks?

Experts have predicted a very active 2018 tick season. This means that you should be aware of any areas that may have ticks. They tend to like areas with leaf litter, areas with tall grass or bushes or the woods. You may be more likely to pick up a tick when camping or hunting, but they can be found in your backyard or at your city park too.

How Do I Check for Ticks?

It is important to check for ticks on a regular basis. You should check your clothing as soon as you leave a tick prone area. You may be able to brush the ticks off and avoid bringing them home for you. Once you arrive home, you should change your clothes and check behind your knees, under your arms and between your legs. They also like to attach themselves around your hairline or in your ears.

What Do I Do If I Find a Tick?

You should only remove the tick with tweezers by pulling straight back. Do not twist the tick to make it come loose, because it can leave its head embedded in your skin which can cause an infection. Once the tick is detached, you should dispose of it properly. You should not crush it with your hands because this increase the chances of you contracting an illness. If you start to develop signs of a tick-borne illness which usually includes a fever, you should seek medical attention and tell your doctor you were bitten by a tick.