And, it’s not fun. Early symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, depression, and a characteristic circular skin rash.
Sure, the tick-borne disease can be treated early and cured with antibiotics, but left untreated a sufferer can experience symptoms that may involve the joints, heart and central nervous system. And treatments after that point can sometimes only achieve minimal results, if any at all.
The news gets no better with a recent scientific discovery that a “new” tick-borne disease in China, a new Lyme disease, if you will, could already have made a home in the Northwest United States. (More information and how to take steps to prevent Lyme Disease after the jump.)
According to DailyFinance, Stocks of Chinese drugmakers rose to four-month highs recently after reports that a tick-borne disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA), has claimed 18 lives in China’s central Henan province. Henan is a long way from the Northeast U.S., but anytime a tick-borne disease makes news, it raises concerns in such areas.
According to the article, the new disease found a home in the U.S. some time ago.
“Anaplasmosis is a disease that is already endemic in some parts of the U.S., particularly the Northeast and upper Midwest,” says Dr. Joanna Regan, a medical epidemiologist at a branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, “more research is needed to assess whether strains of A. phagocytophilum circulating in the U.S. are different from strains currently found in China,” she adds.
What do you do?
First, don’t freak out. Follow some simple guidelines to protect yourself:
The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites. Wear light-colored clothing that covers most of your skin when you go into the woods or an area overgrown with grass and bushes.
This makes it easier to see and remove ticks from your clothing. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and wear pants instead of shorts. Tuck your pant legs into your socks or boots for added protection. Remember that ticks are usually found close to the ground, especially in moist, shaded areas. Via Family Doctor
Secondly, if you experience any of the following symptoms after being bit by a tick or being in a possible exposure situation, contact your doctor immediately:
- Trouble concentrating
- Changes in mood
- Changes in sleep habits
- Loss of memory
- Muscle weakness