By Dr. James Stephens, Ireland Army Health Clinic Chief of the Department of Preventive MedicineMay 24, 2019
It is not a public health crisis, but we do want people to be wary of any tick, not just ones with white dots. Younger lone star ticks and deer ticks do not have the white dot but can still transmit diseases.
The lone star tick can transmit such diseases as Ehrlichiosis, Southern Tick-associated Rash Illness (STARI), and Tularemia and can cause a red-meat allergy from the body's response to the Alpha-galactose sugar found in the tick's saliva. However, lone star ticks do not play a significant role in transmitting Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
The tick needs to be attached for at least four hours or more before any of these diseases could be transmitted to the human host.
• Avoid walking through uncut fields, brush and other areas likely to harbor ticks. Walk in the center of mowed trails to avoid brushing up against vegetation.
• Use repellents when walking through areas such as tall grass and woods -- DEET for the skin and Permethrin on clothes.
• Check yourself and others about every two hours. The lone star tick likes to attach behind the knees, around the waist, in the groin, under the arms and on the neck and head.
• Wash clothes in hot water and dry on high heat to kill whatever may be hiding on them.
What to do if you find a tick:
• If the tick is still attached, see a primary care physician for removal and testing of the tick.
• If the tick is just crawling around, place it into a baggie or container and bring the tick in to be sent off for testing.
• If an individual decides to self-remove the tick, ensure proper protocol is followed, as outlined by Army Public Health Command and CDC guidelines. The tick can still be brought in for testing.
• If a person is experiencing symptoms such as rash, spots, fevers, chills, overall muscle aches or other concerns, he or she should see their primary care physician for evaluation.
*For more information on the DOD Human Tick Test kit program as well as additional information on tick safety information, see the images above.