I'm gonna do a little science Twitter if you want to learn about about zoonotic diseases--those diseases spread between animals and people. Are you coming along? 1/
Diseases spread between animals and people? You bet they do. And there are a lot of them. The flu, plague, rabies, even SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. But today I'm going to talk about tick-borne diseases. 2/
If you ever found a tick embedded in your skin after you spent some time outdoors, you may have worried about your risk of contracting #LymeDisease 3/
With my colleagues @evolutiomary and Jeff Peters, I published a paper about Lyme Disease and some other tick-borne diseases in a scientific journal called Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. You can see the abstract here: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/vbz.2020.2619 4/
So back to our scenario--you have an embedded tick. Does that mean you are going to contract Lyme disease? That might not be the right question to ask. 5/
In North America, the black-legged tick (also called the deer tick) is widespread and can transmit Lyme disease. But it can transmit other diseases as well. 6/
They carry babesiosis, or "like tick-borne malaria," anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Powassan virus. So Lyme disease is just one potential disease you are exposed to. 7/
Our research team had a pretty simple question. If you came home from a day in the field and had an embedded black-legged tick, what was the probability it carried something that could make us sick? 8/
We worked in Vilas County, Wisconsin. It is a fantastic part of the world with over 1300 lakes. There are lots of vacation homes and forests and trails and public lands to explore. Tourism is the county's number one industry. 9/
So we went out and collected black-legged ticks. By the time we were done, we had 461 of them. We took them back to the lab, and used DNA fingerprinting to look for fingerprints of 3 disease-causing microbes: the beasts that cause Lyme, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis. 10/
So here is what we found. About 1 in 2 ticks carried something that could be transmitted to people. But the real kicker was this--in 14% of the ticks we surveyed, we found multiple pathogens. That means... 11/
An exposed person could contract multiple diseases from the same tick. You could get Lyme and babesiosis, for example. 12/
So if you find yourself on the receiving end of a tick bite and begin to feel ill, don't just get tested for Lyme disease. You need a test panel for all of the tick-borne pathogens you may have been exposed to. Tell your doctor this, because they might not know. 13/
One last thing to know. It takes 24-48 hours for those pathogens to move from a tick into you. If you discover a tick bite quickly, you are probably at low risk of contracting one of these diseases. Thanks for reading through. end/
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