Ticks are arachnids, like spiders, scorpions and mites, from the Class Arachnida. While most tick bites do not transmit infectious disease, some very serious infections can be contracted from the bite of this vector.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services says several tick borne diseases are reportable which include Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and babesiosis among others.
The latest data on these three infections in the Pine Tree State through Sep. 28 have been released and it shows that 870 cases of Lyme disease have been reported to date. During the first nine months 120 cases of the bacterial infection, anaplasmosis and 39 cases of the tick borne parasitic infection, babesiosis have been recorded.
The Maine Medical Center Research Institute Vector-borne Disease Laboratory reports of the 15 species of tick that have been identified in Maine, only the deer tick, I. scapularis, is responsible for the vast majority of tick-borne illnesses affecting humans or domestic animals. These diseases, in order of frequency, are:
- Lyme disease: Lyme disease is the most common of the tick-borne diseases. In 2014 the Maine CDC reported 1,395 confirmed cases. The US CDC estimates only 1/10th of true cases are reported.
- Anaplasmosis: In 2014, 191 cases of anaplasmosis were reported in Maine. Anaplasmosis is a growing veterinary problem as well. Dogs develop fever, joint pains, and lack of appetite, while fever, depression, lack of appetite and occasionally ataxia are seen in horses. Anaplasmosis is increasing and continues to spread in Maine.
- Babesiosis: Babesiosis has been fairly common along the southern New England coast and on Long Island for decades, and is now showing up in Maine where Lyme disease is also occurring. In 2014, 42 cases were reported in Maine.
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