About Our Ticks
Since the 1980s, the most aggressive tick in the Piedmont is the Lone Star. Deer ticks, more frequent along the coast, are uncommon in the piedmont. Dog ticks and wood ticks bite humans less frequently than the Lone Star. Tick bites are less common in the mountains at this point in time. Pets can get these diseases, too. In NC you can become infected with several different diseases through tick bites, sometimes from a single bite. The risk and type of infection varies with location, type of tick, season of the year, and the prevalence of the disease causing organisms in the various kinds of ticks. The prevalence of the various types of ticks that bite humans across North Carolina and the proportion that harbor disease causing bacteria in various parts of the state has not been studied in a systematic manner.
NC Ticks Most Likely to Bite Humans
Click on the images below to view our educational slide shows about these ticks.
Lone Star Tick
American Dog Tick
Dermacentor variabilis Transmits Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, tick paralysis, tularemia, and possibly ehrlichiosis.
Brown Dog Tick
Rhipicephalus sanguineus Transmits ehrlichiosis and babesiosis, and possibly Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
Deer Tick or Black-legged Tick
Ixodes scapularis Transmits Lyme disease, babesiosis, erhlichiosis, bartonella, and possibly Powassan encephalitis and tick-borne encephalitis (viral).
There is currently a great deal of medical controversy about diagnostic tests for Lyme disease, sexual transmission of Lyme disease (some studies suggest this), how long to treat, whether late or chronic Lyme disease exists, and, if so, how to treat that.
Little is known to date about what is called the southern form of Lyme-like disease which appears to be transmitted by Lone Star ticks and may be caused by a spirochete, Borellia lonestarii, which is related to the Lyme disease bacteria. This tick and spirochete have recently been found in the northeast as well as the south.
There is also political controversy about the epidemiology of Lyme disease and its treatment. The reasons are complex and include insurance companies’ fear of long-term payments, tourist industry concerns, economic ties, and many other issues.
Proper Tick Removal
- Do not burn or use any substance on the tick, it may cause the tick to regurgitate infected materials into the wound.
- Do not use bare fingers or squeeze or twist the body.
- Grasp tick with pointed tweezers as close to skin as possible and pull straight out with an even pressure.
- Use alcohol on tweezers and wound.
- Wash hands thoroughly.
- You may want to save the tick. Either tape it on a card and or put it in a container of alcohol. Write down the date and place on your body where it was biting.