Deer Ticks and Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a debilitating disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Deer ticks are the most common vectors of this bacterium. Lyme disease is easily transmitted to human and animal hosts through the deer tick’s bite.
Although deer ticks do not jump or fly, they remain in grassy areas frequented by dogs, cats and other warm-blooded hosts. As these hosts brush against the grass, deer ticks cling to the coat of the animal and begin to feed. Because the ticks potentially bite a different host for the next meal, infected ticks are capable of spreading Lyme disease quickly throughout a population.
The small size of the deer tick is also a factor in the prevalence of Lyme disease. Their bites are not painful, and most victims do not notice them until they have become engorged from prolonged feeding.
Removal of deer ticks can be difficult. If a specimen is crushed, infected bodily fluids are released and may further contaminate a bite victim. Contact a physician for any medical concerns.