The Lone Star Tick: A Growing Concern | Thomas Pest Services◀ Back To Blog
November 3, 2023
Ticks have become a growing concern in recent years due to their disease-transmitting abilities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of vector-borne diseases in the United States result from tick bites. From 2011 to 2019, reported cases increased by 25%, affecting approximately 51,000 people (CDC 2021). Among the tick species in the U.S., the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) is notable for its role in disease transmission.
The female lone star tick can be identified by a large white spot when seen from above. Previously confined to the Southeast, this tick has expanded its range to the Northeast, eastern Canada, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and beyond. Lone star ticks are aggressive feeders, targeting pets, humans, and large mammals like white-tailed deer. This has contributed to their population growth and distribution (Stafford et al. 2018, Nelder et al. 2019).
Several diseases can be transmitted by these ticks, including human ehrlichiosis, STARI (Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness), tularemia, Heartland virus, and Bourbon virus. These illnesses share common symptoms such as fever, chills, rash, and joint pain, which can make diagnosis challenging. Thankfully, many of these diseases respond well to antibiotics.
The lone star tick is also associated with Alpha-Gal Syndrome, a novel disorder discovered in 2008. These ticks carry a unique carbohydrate called alpha-gal, which can be transferred through their bites. This can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals when they consume red meat. One distinctive feature of this allergy is the delayed onset of symptoms, which can occur several hours after consuming meat. In certain cases, avoiding red meat for two to five years may be necessary for the allergy to resolve.
At Thomas Pest Services, we understand the importance of tick prevention. With our expertise, we can help protect your loved ones from tick-borne diseases. Contact our team for effective tick control solutions. Please note that we are not medical professionals, so if you have concerns about tick-related illnesses, it is advisable to consult a medical expert for guidance. Your safety and peace of mind are our top priorities.