[GeoStL] Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis

  • From: "Mike Griffin" <griff@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <geocaching@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 00:48:37 -0500

Got your Attention???

Since we are in the middle of Tick season and I have removed 3 from me in the last 2 days, not counting the many I pulled off my clothing because I forgot to treat with permethrin, I though I would share some info on Ticks. I apologize for the length of this email but if I posted the links, most wouldn't take a look and this is too important to not mention.

Deer Ticks - Most common in Missouri
These mainly brown ticks can be the size of a pinhead or as large as the end of a pencil eraser. Most times, when people get a large number of the smaller ticks on them, they often refer to these as seed ticks. These are the most common ticks and have been known to carry diseases including Lyme and Ehrlichiosis. Ehrlichiosis is becoming more common in humans each year. This is a deadly disease but can be treated if caught early enough.

Lone Star Ticks - Very Common in Missouri
Large female and mature adults will have a white dot on their back. Very young ticks and nymphs are often confused as Deer Ticks. The lone star tick does not transmit Lyme disease. Patients bitten by lone star ticks will occasionally develop a circular rash similar to the rash of early Lyme disease. The cause of this rash has not been determined; however, studies have shown that is not caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. The rash may be accompanied by fatigue, headache, fever, and muscle and joint pains. This condition has been named southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI). In the cases of STARI studied to date, the rash and accompanying symptoms have resolved following treatment with oral antibiotics. STARI has not been linked to any arthritic, neurological, or chronic symptoms. However, Lone Star ticks are known to carry Human Ehrlichiosis and Tularemia, a disease that is common to Malaria in symptoms and end results.

The American Dog Tick and Brown Dog Tick
Extremely rare for these ticks to attach to humans. Not really a factor in Geocaching.

Permethrin and Deet
The US Government have tested both repellants and have published the following results. Permethrin is virtually non-toxic to humans and no systemic effects have been reported. In EPA and FDA tests, it was uncommon to have any skin reddening, rash or other irritation. When used as a repellent, permethrin is applied to exterior clothing where it dries and bonds to the cloth fiber. This water-based formula is non-staining, odorless and has exceptional resistance to degradation by sunlight (UV), heat and water. Although permethrin is approved for skin application under certain circumstances such as head lice formulas, it is not applied to skin as a repellent. Permethrin does not bond to skin (stick) and is quickly deactivated by skin's esterase action into inactive compounds. Because of these attributes permethrin offers no repellent benefit on skin. It is only effective when used as a clothing treatment. Deactivation of permethrin on skin occurs in approximately 20 minutes, When placed on clothing it will last 2 to 6 weeks (even up to 1 year with special application) and will even last through weekly launderings. With the long history of success permethrin has achieved, it is best not to second guess these extraordinary results. By following the directions provided on the product you can be assured of results that achieve protection at or near 100%. Any variation of instructions that indicate using less permethrin on clothing will result in diminished performance. Follow the direction exactly and you will be amazed at the performance of this product.

Test on ticks conducted in Massachusetts concluded that 100% protection was provided against the Deer tick (Ixodes Scapularis) which is the primary vector of Lyme disease in the Midwest and Northeast. The same outstanding results occurred when testing the Western Black Legged tick(Deer Tick), Lone Star tick, American Dog tick and Brown Dog tick. Similar results have been found with other tick species throughout the United States and Europe. Two detergent washings did not diminish repellent killing action of permethrin-treated uniforms. In tests, ticks that crossed only 10 inches of treated fabric fell from the uniform, later dying due to this limited exposure.

Note: Military application of permethrin (Permethrin Arthropod Repellent) varies from civilian application in that 4.5 ounces are applied to the uniform and the remaining contents of the 6 ounce container used to treat mosquito netting. The difference in application also results in increased protection. It is specified that "reapply after six weeks and sixth laundering." The additional 1.5 ounces doubled the 2 to 3 week protection realized from the civilian application of 3 ounces. Full protection is realized by use of permethrin AND application of standard issue repellent approved for skin application (3M Ultrathon).

Deet is an approved repellent for skin application. Exposure to high concentrations of deet can pose some limited health hazards. At the time concentrations of 33% as provided in the 3M Ultrathon product were chosen by the U.S. Military for its superior performance and high margin of safety. Up until the 3M Ultrathon was chosen the military had been using a 100% deet. It was uncomfortable to wear and easily damaged certain materials synthetic and plastics. Since the 3M Ultrathon introduction, some new developments have been made using deet in special micro encapsulated formulas that have tested quite well and last up to 20 hours between applications against certain insect species. Deet-based products are available in a wide variety of formulas that can address the very specific needs of the individual traveler, outdoors person, family member and even young children. Specific blends with other repellents to repel biting flies are called composites, while others formulas have been added to sunscreen for convenient dual-purpose application.

Early research on deet showed that performance dropped off when concentrations of 35% or higher were tested. As an example, if a 30% deet concentration offers satisfactory repellent action for four hours, an assumption that a 60% deet would last eight hours is not correct. The 60% product may only last about 5 hours. In the use of standard deet formulas, it is more effective to use lower concentrations of deet with more frequent application than to assume the higher concentrations to be longer lasting. They are not. Most brand-name deet-based products already have a deet range from 15% to 33%. Once the threat of insect/tick bite is over, the repellent should be washed off. Deet by itself tested between 85% to 89% effective at repelling ticks (deet does not kill either ticks or mosquitoes) and 97% against mosquitoes.

The DoD system consists of both permethrin treated clothing and deet applied to skin. The use of one without the other will undermine the system and increase the risk of insect or tick bite. Many non-deet products are available on the market and are not part of the DoD protection system. They show ineffective repellent performance and are not recommended for any situation where disease transmission is a threat.

My tests
I sprayed a pair of pants with Equate Bedding Spray (Wal-Mart Brand) (Same Permethrin only a buck cheaper than Cutters) and applied deet before going into the woods. I picked up a couple of ticks but they fell off of me in a short amount of time. The next time I went in with nothing and picked ticks off me every few minutes. When on deer trails and tall grass, they came by the hundreds. I sprayed only with Deet (40 percent) and went back in. This time, I picked up a few ticks but I think I kept some from the earlier trip into the woods.

When you spray your pants and shirts with permethrin, place them in a bag and let them dry. If you are in a hurry, spray liberally on all you clothes and pop them in the dryer for 10 minutes. The labels on cans of permethrin warn against skin exposure. However, I found no conclusive evidence that it is harmful to humans. Contrarily, I have found that it is just very ineffective when applied directly to the skin. Nevertheless, it is a chemical and should be used with common sense.

Dog Collars?
Ticks do not jump or fly. Some say they fall from trees. This is not true. Ticks will climb up a plant but 90 percent will come from the grass or ground below your knees and crawl up to waist and open skin such as neck arms and hair. Light clothes and tucking everything in will help you see ticks quickly. I feel they are attracted to lighter clothes as was proven when 4 of us walked down a trail and I was in white cargo pants. I had a bazillion ticks crawling on me and the guys in jeans had a few. Since I was leading the group, I though I might be picking them up before anyone else passed by. I changed positions to the back of the pack and still had more ticks.

Oh yeah, Dog Collars... Didg Guy swears by em! It makes sense since ticks are mainly below the knees and it works on dogs around their necks. Placing a couple around your ankles will work wonders. I would still use Permethrin and Deet.

I apologize for the length of this email. I hope everyone reads it and it helps you prevent tick bites. Tonight, I will spray all my caching clothes and continue to do so each week until these nasty buggers are gone for the season. I have pulled 3 out of me in 2 days and killed many more on clothing. Bridget got one today from me and I thought she was going to kill me.

Stay Safe!!!

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  • » [GeoStL] Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis