In the April 22 edition of US News & World Report, Bobbi Pritt, M.D., director of Mayo Clinic's Clinical Parasitology and Virology Laboratories, observes that patients have been showing up a month or so early this year with tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and babesiosis, due to the early arrival of spring.
Dr. Pritt notes that what might seem like just a fever (especially if it is accompanied by headache and muscle pain) could really be a tick-borne illness. If you notice a bull's-eye-patterned rash anywhere on your body, visit your physician as soon as possible. Last year, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Health System researchers discovered a new species of ehrlichia transmitted by deer ticks that infects and kills white blood cells and causes a feverish illness.
The easiest way to avoid these tick-borne illnesses is to avoid contact with ticks and protect yourself with an insect-repellant, such as DEET, or buy clothes doused with pyrethroids (another kind of insect-repellant). For more tips on how to protect yourself, click on the button below.