Ticks are blood-feeding parasites that are often found in tall grass and shrubs where they will wait to attach to a passing host. Physical contact is the only method of transportation for ticks as they do not jump or fly but may drop from their perch and fall onto a host. Ticks will generally try to climb to the highest part of their host.
Ticks are common throughout the Lakeshore with a high population located on North Manitou Island. The most commonly found tick at the Lakeshore are the American Dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) and the Black-Legged tick (Ixodes scapularis), also commonly known as the Deer tick. The Black-Legged tick population has gradually increased in recent years and is known to be a vector of Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Prompt removal of ticks is an important step in preventing diseases. In most cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a tick infected with Lyme disease must be attached to its host for 36 - 48 hours or more before Lyme disease can be transmitted.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
• Chills and fever
• Muscle and Joint Pain
• A characteristic bull's eye skin rash presents in 70 to 80% of cases
Late Lyme Disease
• Joint swelling, usually in one or more large joints, especially the knees
• Nervous system abnormalities can include nerve paralysis (facial muscles), and meningitis
• Rarely, irregularities of the heart rhythm may occur