The Menace of the Blood Sucking Spiders

The Menace of the Blood Sucking Spiders

London : United Kingdom | May 16, 2011 at 11:13 AM PDT
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Home and Garden: Dangerous Deer Ticks

I was speaking to a teacher friend of mine the other day and he mentioned his love of the New Forest and letting his children feed the deer.

"You should never do that" I said.

"Why is that?" he asked.

"Because deers are sometimes infected by Lyme disease and carry ticks that jump off and hide somewhere on one's body, usually in a warm damp place like the groin and armpits" I explained.

My friends face took on a horrified expression "What is Lyme disease?" he asked.

"It's caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorfen and infected ticks that carry the bacteria and if they bite you you can get the disease" I answered.

I didn't tell hi that mice can also carry the disease because he was freaking out now!

Lyme disease is becoming more frequent now that people are taking to rambling and walking in the countryside and they are often townies who have never heard of ticks. Once I knew a woman who after milking a cow had several ticks on her body and she just grasped them at the base and pulled them off. She is still disease free 20 years later so I assume that either the ticks were uninfected or she removed them correctly. The best way if a tick sticks to your body is to use a pair of tweezers and being careful not to twist, or jerk it to pull it straight out.

Ticks are of the arachnid family, very unpleasant creatures, blood sucking spiders, which are sometimes very tiny and go unnoticed because before they bite they spray one's skin with anaesthetic. If you twist them they empty the blood they have sucked into one's body! You can tell when they have had a good feed because their small body swells up like a balloon inflated with the victim's blood!

The disease is named after the town of Lyme in Connecticut, USA where several cases were identified in 1975 and eventually a certain Willy Burdorfer identified the disease which is named after him Borrelia burgdorfi sensu stricto which is the main cause of the disease although there are three other micro organism of the Borrelia family which occur in Europe.

The ticks usually have to remain on the body for a day to transmit the disease and early symptons are fever, headache, fatigue, depression and and a reddish circular skin rash shaped like a bullseye.

Left untreated later symptoms may involve the joints, heart and brain. Don't panic because if treated early with anti biotics a cure is usual. Delayed or inadequate treatment can lead to more serious consequences which can be disabling of even fatal.

The alternative treatment is with bees venom...

It is a difficult disease to diagnose and is easily confused with others although it could take from weeks to years to develop!

Guinea fowls love to eat ticks and it is good to keep one as a pet and never lets animals into your house if they might have come into contact with animals in the countryside.

So if you go down in the woods today be careful to wear long sleeves and tuck your trousers into your socks and when you get home check out your children. You have been warned and I feel very itchy having written this!

NB: Ticks are said to hate the smell of Aloe Vera (obtainable as a gel)

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Lyme disease
Lyme disease
From: monkeypuzzle
mikefreeman is based in London, England, United Kingdom, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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