According to stats, this summer may turn out to be a bad year – perhaps the worst year – for Lyme Disease. The reasoning is in Northeastern United States there has been increases in the amount of acorns and the white-footed mouse population.
Lyme disease comes from a tick that is infected with the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi – and agent of Lyme Disease. First signs are an expanding rash and then many people have severe flu-like symptoms along with muscle aches, fever, chills, and lethargy. Later some people will develop arthritis, mainly in the larger joints, that comes and goes.
So where do the mice and the acorns come into play? In the fall of 2010, oak trees in the Northeast produced more acorns that had been seen in 20 years. The white-footed mouse thrives on acorns. The mice then have no problems surviving winter because of their store acorns. They do not need to forage and run into predators. In addition, mice breed early in the years of adequate food, and their off-spring have higher rates of survival.
In the summer of 2011, the highest population of white-footed mice was seen in the northeast in more than 20 years was reported. The mice are the favorite food for the ticks. Ticks live best on mice over raccoons, opossums, squirrels, among other animals or birds. Perhaps, because of the others more successful grooming techniques.
After a dormant winter, the tick larvae show up between May and July, so we are in the middle of the highest risk season for tick bites in 20 years. Most people who have had a tick bite do not get Lyme Disease. But it is still important to watch for symptoms.
The main treatment of Lyme Disease is antibiotics. Although progress has been made in the treatment of Lyme Disease, there still is need for improvement. The best defense is to avoid being bitten. Experts recommend using tick repellents on your shoes, socks and pant legs. Always do a full-body tick search on yourself and your children when you have been in the woods and fields. Be sure to check your children’s hair and ears! Let us know of your experiences and information about Lyme Disease.
Filed under: Busch Chiropractic