As the tick population continues to explode in the Northeast, the number of cases of Lyme disease continues to grow. It’s a big issue in New Hampshire as we have thousands of cases of Lyme each year, but experts say the number is actually much higher than what is ever reported. There are also many other tick-borne diseases that are being misdiagnosed and treated incorrectly.
Lyme disease: it’s caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, although now that bacterium has over one hundred strains in the U.S. Transmitted by the tiny deer tick, it’s an infection that first causes fever, chills and flu-like symptoms.
Tick season is upon us once again, and New Hampshire health officials are advising people to wear insect repellent and protective clothing to avoid being bitten by them and potentially exposed to Lyme disease.
The Department of Health and Human Services says in 2013, 1,689 cases of Lyme disease were identified in the state, with the highest rates of disease in Hillsborough, Rockingham, and Strafford counties.
The greatest risk for Lyme disease is between May and August.
Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a bulls-eye-like rash.
With tick season in full swing - and this year being described as the worst in recent history - the risk of tick bites and tick-borne infection is high. Read through the graphic below to learn more about ticks, the infections they can carry, and how to prevent being infected yourself.
Here's a dubious Granite State superlative: New Hampshire has the third highest incidence of Lyme disease in the country following Delaware and Connecticut!
Southern New Hampshire is prime tick habitat. Deer ticks - not dog ticks - are THE vector for human Lyme disease. Two-toned solid colored deer ticks, also called "black-legged ticks" are smaller than familiar mottled brown dog ticks.
October is the annual breeding season, "the rut" for the largest denizens of New Hampshire's North Country: Moose. It's also the annual moose hunting season.
Following the initial recovery of moose populations, an annual moose hunt has occurred since 1988. That first year, 75 permits were issued for a three-day hunt in the North Country only. Last year, 400 moose permit hunters took 290 moose.
This year 275 coveted moose hunting permits were awarded by lottery from among more than 13,400 applicants for the nine-day season.
A surge in occurrence of Lyme disease is predicted for the Eastern U.S. three years after bumper acorn crops in 2009 and 2010 and following virtually NO acorns last autumn in 2011. Why is that? How do acorn crops influence rates of human illness?
Oak forests demonstrate the ecological ripple effects when bumper acorn crops cause a population boom in mice which translates into an increase in ticks and a delayed-onset spike in reported cases of human Lyme disease.