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Lyme Isn’t the Only Disease Ticks Are Spreading This Summer

With tick season upon us, many people are rightfully worried about tick-borne diseases, but if you think Lyme disease is the only thing ticks cause, Wired suggests it’s time to hone up on the rest of the story. This year virologists and epidemiologists fear that a deadly tick-borne disease called Powassan (POW) may be set to take over, and are warning health officials to be on the lookout for it.

While POW is still rare, Lyme disease has grown 25-fold since surveillance for it began in 1982. Called the “great imitator,” Lyme disease may mimic arthritis, fibromyalgia, neurological symptoms, cognitive deficits and multiple sclerosis to name a few conditions — making diagnosis of Lyme difficult.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by ticks that have previously fed on an infected host. However, some top authorities on Lyme disease, like Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, warn the bacteria that cause the disease may also be spread by other insects such as fleas, mosquitoes, mites and spiders.

The difficulty in diagnosis has led to resistance in acknowledging both the acute and chronic phase of the disease. Because of this challenge, it’s important to take prevention seriously. Avoid tick-infested areas, such as leaf piles around trees. Walk in the middle of trails and avoid brushing against long grasses. Don't sit on logs, wooden stumps, stonewalls or the ground.

Tuck your pants into socks and wear closed shoes and a hat, especially if venturing out into wooded areas. Keep long hair tied back, especially when you are gardening. If you find that a tick has latched onto you, it's very important to remove it properly. Once removed, make sure you save the tick so that it can be tested for presence of pathogenic organisms.
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