Gulf Coast Tick Makes it Way to Indiana Carrying Tidewater Spotted Fever
The Gulf Coast Tick is usually found along the Gulf and Atlantic coast, but was recently found in Indiana, fun!
Indiana University researchers have spotted the tick in Indiana, which is rare because it typically doesn't come this far north. It's slowly made it's way to the Hoosier state, and IU professor emeritus Keith Clay says that he believes warmer Winters are what have caused the tick to be able to survive this far north of it's usual range.
The tick carries with it Tidewater Spotted Fever, which sounds super fun. The CDC confirms how much fun the spotted fever is, saying the symptoms of it include fever, headache, rash, and muscle aches. They say it's similar to Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (which has been found carried in ticks in all US states, including Indiana) although RMSF can be deadly if not treated early.
The CDC recommends taking precautions to prevent tick bites, and monitoring your health closely if you find a tick on you. The CDC suggests the following precautions:
- Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals, so spending time outside camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. Many people get ticks in their own yard or neighborhood.
- Treat clothing and gear with products containing permethrin.
- Use EPA registered insect repellent, they recommend ones containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus,or 2-undecanone (read more about these, here).
- Check your body thoroughly for ticks when you come indoors. Same for pets. Also check your gear, bags, etc... as they can sometimes be carried in on coats and gear as well.
- Shower soon after being outdoors. The CDC says showering within 2 hours of coming inside has been shown to reduce the risk of Lyme disease. It also may help wash off unattached ticks.
- Get more prevention tips from the CDC here.