Home Local News Ticks, tick-borne diseases: Lyme, prevention, treatment, Virginia

Ticks, tick-borne diseases: Lyme, prevention, treatment, Virginia



Ticks are external parasites and classified as ararachnids. They are vectors of a slew of diseases that humans can contract upon being bitten. The blacklegged or deer tick as it is sometimes called is the most common carrier of Lyme disease. This, an American dog tick, also can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever if infected.

Ticks and the diseases they carry are frightening. Most of us know someone who is suffering from Lyme disease. 

In the Shenandoah Valley, two tick species are the predominant concern: lone star ticks and blacklegged ticks. Lone star ticks transmit ehrlichiosis and may transmit other potentially fatal diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Blacklegged ticks (deer ticks) transmit Lyme disease.

Lone star tick biting season lasts about seven months out of each year (from the adult tick biting season from March through June, to the nymph tick biting season from May through August, to the larval tick biting season from July through September). 

David Gaines, public health entomologist at the Virginia Department of Health, is in charge of tick surveillance. Here are some things he and his team recommend you can do to go to battle with those bloodsuckers. 

First, you need to fill up your arsenal. 

Shopping list

  • tick repellent for clothing (0.5% permethrin, an insecticide)
  • tick repellent for skin (50% DEET for adults, less than 30% DEET for children)
  • Repellents containing other active ingredients such as bioUID, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, picaridin, or 2-undecanone may also be effective
  • a good pair of tweezers
  • magnifying glass
  • shin socks or socks big enough to wrap around your pants
  • light-colored pants or jeans 
  • sticky tape like a pet lint roller

Are you a pet owner? Discuss with your pet’s veterinarian which treatment is best for your fuzzy loved ones. 

Deer ticks adult and nymph

Preventing tick bites  

Recognize when you are in potential tick habitats such as leaf litter, vegetation in forest environments or shady areas. Walk in the center of forest trails, keep grass cut and rake leaves/clear brush in wooded or shady yards.  

Wear long pants and shoes with socks and apply repellent containing 0.5% permethrin to shoes, socks and clothing. Do not apply permethrin to skin. Tuck treated pant legs into socks or boots, tuck shirts into pants and wear light-colored clothing so ticks are visible.  


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Source: GANNETT Syndication Service

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