Do Ticks in Tennessee Carry Lyme Disease?

Originally posted on June 17, 2023 @ 12:08 am

Ticks are tiny, eight-legged arachnids that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They are commonly found in wooded areas, tall grasses, and bushes. Ticks are known to carry various diseases, including Lyme disease. In this article, we will explore whether ticks in Tennessee carry Lyme disease and what steps you can take to protect yourself from tick bites.

Ticks are small arachnids that can be found in various regions. Tennessee is no exception, and these pests can be found in the state. However, one of the concerns that many people have is whether ticks found in Tennessee carry Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick, and it can cause a range of symptoms. In this context, we will explore if ticks in Tennessee carry Lyme disease and share some tips on how to protect yourself from these pests.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. The disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is primarily carried by black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks. The symptoms of Lyme disease can vary, but they often include a bull’s eye rash, fever, headache, fatigue, and joint pain.

How is Lyme Disease Transmitted?

Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected tick. Ticks become infected with the bacteria when they feed on infected animals, such as mice and deer. Once infected, ticks can then transmit the bacteria to humans when they bite and feed on their blood.

Can Ticks in Tennessee Carry Lyme Disease?

Yes, ticks in Tennessee can carry Lyme disease. While the black-legged tick is the primary carrier of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, other species of ticks, such as the lone star tick and the American dog tick, have also been known to carry the bacteria.

How to Protect Yourself from Tick Bites

Tick bites can be prevented by taking certain precautions when spending time outdoors. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself from tick bites:

Wear Protective Clothing

Wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and socks can help prevent tick bites. Tucking your pants into your socks and wearing light-colored clothing can also make it easier to spot ticks on your clothing.

Use Insect Repellent

Using insect repellent that contains DEET or other EPA-approved ingredients can help repel ticks. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label, and avoid applying repellent to your face.

Perform Tick Checks

After spending time outdoors, check your body for ticks. Pay special attention to areas such as your scalp, behind your ears, and in your armpits and groin area. If you find a tick, remove it immediately using tweezers.

Treat Your Clothing

Treating your clothing with permethrin can help repel ticks. Permethrin is a pesticide that is safe for humans but toxic to ticks. You can purchase permethrin-treated clothing or treat your own clothing using a spray.

Create a Tick-Free Zone

Creating a tick-free zone in your yard can help reduce your risk of tick bites. Keep your grass mowed, remove leaf litter and brush, and create a barrier between your lawn and any wooded areas.

FAQs – Do Ticks in Tennessee Carry Lyme Disease?

What is Lyme disease, and how do people get infected with it in Tennessee?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. In Tennessee, people can get infected with the bacterium when they are bitten by infected black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks. These ticks are most commonly found in wooded areas or tall grasses and are known to feed on humans and animals alike.

Are all ticks in Tennessee infected with Lyme disease?

No, not all ticks in Tennessee are infected with Lyme disease. However, it is essential to note that black-legged ticks are the most common vector of Lyme disease in the United States. Therefore, it is crucial to take preventative measures when spending time outdoors in wooded or grassy areas to avoid tick bites and reduce the risk of contracting Lyme disease.

How prevalent is Lyme disease in Tennessee?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Tennessee had 92 reported cases of Lyme disease in 2018, which is a relatively low number compared to other states. However, it is crucial to remember that these numbers may not reflect the true number of cases due to underreporting or misdiagnosis.

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease, and how is it diagnosed?

The early symptoms of Lyme disease can include a distinct rash that looks like a bull’s eye, fever, fatigue, headaches, and muscle and joint pain. However, not all infected individuals may experience these symptoms, which can make Lyme disease difficult to diagnose. In some cases, the disease may only be diagnosed after the onset of more severe symptoms, such as cardiac or neurological complications. Laboratory tests can detect antibodies against the bacterium responsible for Lyme disease and help confirm a diagnosis.

What can people do to prevent Lyme disease when spending time outdoors in Tennessee?

Preventative measures include avoiding wooded or grassy areas, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, using insect repellents that contain DEET, and performing tick checks on yourself, your children, and your pets after spending time outdoors. If you do find a tick, remove it carefully using tweezers and clean the bitten area thoroughly. If you experience any symptoms of Lyme disease after a tick bite, seek medical attention immediately.