Most Active Stories
- Well-known Knoxville Attorney Arrested On Drug Charges
- There's A 'Blood Moon' Eclipse Tonight, But Will You Be Able To See It?
- UT Percussion Studies and Nief-Norf to host Pulitzer-Prize winning composer, John Luther Adams
- State Looking Into Limited Privatization Of Some State Parks
- One Year On, Still Unanswered Questions In Pilot Probe
Mon May 27, 2013
Tennessee Sees Increase In Number, Variety Of Ticks
Researchers at the University of Tennessee's Center for Wildlife Health say Tennessee is becoming a sort of "meeting place" for different varieties of ticks, a tangible result of a changing climate. Each new species of tick brings its own bacteria and viruses, complicating the task of diagnosing and treating tick-borne illnesses. The Center's Dr. Graham Hickling says recent years have seen a migration of Lone Star and Gulf Coast ticks from the South and Black-Legged ticks from the North. Black-Legged ticks are most commonly associated with Lyme Disease, but Hickling says Lyme Disease isn't as much of a threat in Tennessee as it is in the Upper Midwest and Northeast. Rather, Hickling says Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiosis (a broad category that includes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and a cluster of related infections) is of greater concern in Tennessee because it's more common in humans and it's potentially fatal.
If a tick bites you, Hickling suggests removing the body and mouth parts carefully with a pair of tweezers. Keeping the dead tick in a vial of alcohol or in a freezer bag may help in your diagnosis if you begin to experience headaches, fever, stiff neck or stiff joints, all potential symptoms of a tick-borne illness.