UPDATE: 'Lone star' ticks have increased presence in Wis.

UPDATE:  Bug experts say an aggressive tick that can trigger a disease causing fever and fatigue has an increased presence in Wisconsin.

Credit: University of Wisconsin–Madison

UPDATED Tuesday, July 23, 2013 --- 11:15 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Bug experts say an aggressive tick that can trigger a disease causing fever and fatigue has an increased presence in Wisconsin.

University of Wisconsin-Madison health officials say a person in Barron County has contracted a type of ehrlichiosis that is relatively new to the state.

UW-Madison entomology professor Susan Paskewitz says a dozen ticks have been found, despite no formal effort to find them. Paskewitz says there may actually be thousands and thousands of the ticks that are capable of making it through Wisconsin winters.

The State Journal says other cases of ehrlichiosis were reported in Chippewa County in 2008 and Eau Claire County in 2011. The disease can cause fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, confusion and a rash, among other symptoms.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, July 22, 2013--6:35p.m.
MADISON--"If they get a signal....or a little bit of movement then they may actually aggressively hunt you," said Professor Susan Paskewitz, talking about the Lone Star tick.

According to the CDC, these ticks are often found in the eastern, southeastern and south-central states. Though that range has been increasing and Paskewitz said she's had more records of them recently here in Wisconsin.

Unlike Wood and Deer ticks, they won't wait for you to come to them.
"Deer and Wood ticks will be on the vegetation waiting for you to brush by before they can actually get on you," said Paskewitz ".......The Lone Star ticks are a lot more aggressive in just running for you."

A bite from one could make you feel sick--or even develop a temporary allergy to red meat. "Showing up with everything from hives all the way to anaphalactic shock as a result of meat eating and he was able to link it back to being bitten by one of these Lone Star ticks," she said, about one research study.

The CDC says these ticks won't give you Lyme disease--but a bite could result in similar symptoms, like fatigue, fever and muscle pains. "We want to make sure that doctors and members of the public are thinking about that," said Paskewitz. "That's actually on the radar now as something that if somebody shows up sick and they're not getting a positive test for Lyme disease or.....both of which are transmitted by Deer ticks that maybe they're thinking a little further about some other possible exposures."

In terms of deterring them, Paskewitz suggests wearing long pants and repellent that contains Deet.

If you're bitten by one, or are able to capture one live, Paskewitz is looking for folks to send those to her for more study. For more information: http://labs.russell.wisc.edu/wisconsin-ticks/

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Posted Monday, July 22, 2013 --- 9:04 a.m.

According to UW-Madison experts, the lone star tick, an exotic tick from the south, has appeared in at least half a dozen Wisconsin counties.

"The signs are telling me that they are close to established if not already established in the southern part of the state," entomology professor Susan Paskewitz is quoted in a news release. "I took one off my daughter recently. My staff picked up two working at the UW Arboretum, and I picked one up in Price County, which is surprisingly far north."

Lone star ticks are named for the single white splotch of the back of females (seen to the left of the attached picture).

According to the UW release, lone star tick bites can transmit bacteria that cause conditions such as human monocytic ehrlichiosis, a potentially debilitating and dangerous disease characterized by fever, muscle aches and fatigue.

"There is also a more rare reaction to Amblyomma in which a bite makes some people develop an allergy to red meat," Paskewitz says.

Paskewitz is asking anyone who encounters a lone star tick to send her lab a photo or the actual arachnid.

"If you can get a picture or the actual lone star tick, we could use the specimens and locations where they were found," she says. "Just drop the tick in a sealed plastic bag and freeze it or heat it up on your dashboard in the sun."

Instructions for identification and submission are available at Paskewitz' Wisconsin Ticks website. Click HERE to get to that site.


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