Insect Hazards Hunt the Hunter

Not long ago the only insect hazards hunters in the U.S. needed to be aware of was the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Tick. Now there are two new life threatening insect hazards to consider. The tiny Deer Tick can carry Lyme disease and there are over sixty species of mosquitoes that can become infected with West Nile Disease. Ignoring these insect hunters can result in grave consequences for years. You may be able to see the insects but you can not see the bugs they might carry, therefore is best to know a little about them and how to protect ourselves from the tiny human hunters.

  Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF):  

RMSF is caused by a species of bacteria that is spread to humans by hard tick insects. Initial signs and symptoms of the disease include sudden onset of fever, headache, and muscle pain, followed by development of rash. The disease can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages, and without prompt and appropriate treatment it can be fatal.

Lyme Disease:

Lyme disease bacteria are spread by another insect hazard, the tiny black legged deer tick. Ticks feed on blood, and infected ticks transmit the disease as they feed. When people visit or live near deer tick habitats, they run a high risk of contracting Lyme disease. For your own safety, you should become familiar with the insect’s habits and habitats, and you should learn how to prevent tick bites.

Typical symptoms include an initial skin rash around the insect bite, then fever, headache and fatigue. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. After the rash around the insect bite goes away Lyme disease may be hard to diagnose or may be misdiagnosed if not positively diagnosed before this rash disappears. After the rash disappears the disease goes internal causing a lot of physical pain and money from trying to find out what is wrong. If you don’t remember a tick insect bite in the past and talk your doctor into a lab screen they will most likely be looking for other causes instead of Lyme. Once properly diagnosed most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics.

The insects that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tick-borne diseases as well. An insect bite is no longer an incident to take lightly.

West Nile Virus:

West Nile Virus insect hazard is a virus commonly found in Africa, West Asia, and the Middle East. It is closely related to St. Louis encephalitis virus which is also found in the United States. The virus can infect humans, birds, mosquitoes, horses and some other mammals.

The most severe type of disease due to a person being infected with West Nile virus after an insect bite affects a person’s nervous system including the brain and spinal areas.

West Nile Fever is another type of illness that can occur in people who become infected with the virus. It is characterized by fever, headache, tiredness, aches and sometimes rash. Although the illness can be as short as a few days, even healthy people have been sick for several weeks and some have died.

Hunting and other outdoors activities put you at risk for these diseases and steps to abate these insect hazards should be pursued aggressively with insect repellents and insecticides.

Some commercial insect repellents are not always as safe as is generally thought and care should always be taken to use insect repellents