The Importance of Understanding Ticks
We know that ticks transmit diseases, but do we know why? If we understand how these pests can spread harmful bacteria, then we may be able to find more ways to prevent the transmission of harmful diseases and protect ourselves from ticks more effectively.
Research at WSU to understand how the mechanisms of tick immune systems operate could help uncover ways to affect how ticks carry and transmit diseases, many of which affect humans. One type of tick, Ixodes scapularis, can transmit at least seven different diseases from feeding on the blood of a host, a number that is relatively high when compared to other bugs and insects that carry disease, said Dana Shaw, microbiologist and researcher at WSU.
There are so many tick borne diseases that we are susceptible to and making sure we understand what we’re up against is important. Many of us don’t recognize the symptoms early enough from an infected tick bite, and therefore delay obtaining medical attention.
Ticks are a threat to our health, and understanding how serious this is will help us to combat the spread of disease.
The incidence of tickborne infections in the United States has risen significantly within the past decade. It is imperative, therefore, that public health officials and scientists build a robust understanding of pathogenesis, design improved diagnostics, and develop preventive vaccines, according to a new commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine from leading scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.
Are you taking the basic steps in tick prevention? When was the last time you updated your tick control for your home? By acting on these questions you are contributing to a healthier future when it comes to tick borne disease transmission.