Mount Nittany Physician Group seeing big increase in disease caused by ticks


Pennsylvania has lead the nation in tick born diseases like Lyme Disease for the last 20 years.
But Lyme disease isn’t the only problem. There’s a similar cousin that’s expanding rapidly.

Mount Nittany physicians treated 5 patients in 2017 for a little known disease, which is caused by a deer tick bite. That number jumped to 25 in 2018 and there’s been 23 already this year.

Mount Nittany Physician Group says they’ve seen a dramatic increase in hospital visits for anaplasmosis, it’s similar to Lyme disease and comes from a deer tick.

Margit Yocum in State College says this news shocked her.

“It’s alarming to me, obviously I’m concerned about my dog and the health of my friends and neighbors,” Yocum, said.

Marissa Willson goes to college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her parents warned her about the tick problem.

“My parents actually said something, when I came home from school this year and they were like, “Hey it’s really bad this year, so just stay aware of it,” Willson, said.

Dr. Evan Bell at Mount Nittany Physician group says you might think you have the flu, but don’t be fooled, it could be this infection.

“High fever, body aches, chills, aches and pains, patients often have some nausea and vomiting, occasionally diarrhea and cough associated with it,” Dr. Bell, said.

You could have those symptoms with Lyme disease, plus a bullseye rash from a bite and a migraine.

If you see a tick on you, Dr. Bell says don’t burn it off or make it angry, as that could cause the insect to put more of its fluids into you, spreading the infection.

“Get the tick off with as little disturbance to the tick as you can, think of it as if you make him angry, he’s going to likely spit more bug into at the time you’re removing him,” Dr. Bell, said.

He says wear clothing that covers you as much as possible, use insect repellent, use things with deet in them and do a tick checks frequently.

Marissa says her family does those things and takes tick precautions for their dogs.

“My Dad has some medicine stuff that he puts on their necks and some we have collars that we buy that we put on them,” Willson, said.

Dr. Bell says the best treatment for anaplasmosis is the drug, doxycycline, but talk to you doctor before taking it.

If you think you have symptoms of anaplasmosis or Lyme Disease, make sure you contact your doctor.

The high threat of these ticks goes until Fall.

For more on the difference between Lyme disease and anaplasmosis you can read these links:

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