Prevention of Ehrlichiosis
Prevention of Ehrlichiosis:
Limiting exposure to ticks reduces the
likelihood of ehrlichial infection. In persons exposed to tick-infested habitats, prompt
careful inspection and removal of crawling or attached ticks is an important method of
preventing disease. It may take several hours of attachment before microorganisms are
transmitted from the tick to the host.
It is unreasonable to assume that a
person can completely eliminate activities that may result in tick exposure. Therefore,
prevention measures should be aimed at personal protection:
- Wear light-colored
allow you to see ticks that are crawling on your clothing.
- Tuck your pants legs into your socks so
that ticks cannot crawl up the inside of your pants legs.
- Apply repellants to discourage tick
attachment. Repellents containing permethrin can be sprayed on boots and clothing, and
will last for several days. Repellents containing DEET (n, n-diethyl-m-toluamide)
can be applied to the skin, but will last only a few hours before reapplication is
necessary. Use DEET with caution on children because adverse reactions have been reported.
- Conduct a body check upon return from
potentially tick-infested areas by searching your entire body for ticks. Use a hand-held
or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Remove any tick you find on your
To remove attached ticks, use the
1. Use fine-tipped tweezers or shield
your fingers with a tissue, paper towel, or rubber gloves.
2. Grasp the tick as close to the skin
surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the
tick; this may cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin.
(If this happens, remove mouthparts with
tweezers. Consult your healthcare provider if infection occurs.)
19. Tick removal
3. Do not squeeze, crush, or puncture
the body of the tick because its fluids (saliva, hemolymph, gut contents) may contain
4. Do not handle the tick with bare
hands because infectious agents may enter through mucous membranes or breaks in the skin. This
precaution is particularly directed to individuals who remove ticks from domestic animals
with unprotected fingers. Children, elderly persons, and immunocompromised
persons may be at greater risk of infection and should avoid this
5. After removing the tick, thoroughly
disinfect the bite site and wash your hands with soap and water.
6. You may wish to save the tick for identification
in case you become ill within 2 to 3 weeks. Your
doctor can use the information to assist in making an accurate diagnosis. Place the tick in a plastic
bag and put it in your freezer. Write the date of the bite on a piece of paper with a
pencil and place it in the bag.
Note: Folklore remedies such as petroleum jelly or hot matches
do little to encourage a tick to detach from skin. In fact, they may make
matters worse by irritating the tick and stimulating it to release
additional saliva, increasing the chances of transmitting the pathogen. These methods of tick
removal should be avoided. In addition, a number of tick removal devices have been
marketed, but none are better than a plain set of fine tipped tweezers.
Strategies to reduce vector tick densities through area-wide application of acaricides (chemicals that will kill
ticks and mites) and
control of tick habitats (e.g., leaf litter and brush) have been effective in small-scale
trials. New methods under development include applying acaricides to rodents and deer by using baited tubes, boxes, and deer feeding
stations in areas where these pathogens are endemic. Biological control with
fungi, parasitic nematodes, and parasitic wasps may play important roles in
integrated tick control efforts. Community-based integrated tick
management strategies may prove to be an effective public health response to reduce the
incidence of tick-borne infections. However, limiting exposure to ticks is presently the
most effective method of prevention. (Source: excerpt from Ehrlichiosis: Prevention: DVRD)
Prevention Claims: Ehrlichiosis
Information on prevention of Ehrlichiosis comes from many sources.
There are some sources that claim preventive benefits
for many different diseases for various products.
We may present such information
in the hope that it may be useful,
however, in some cases claims of Ehrlichiosis prevention may be
dubious, invalid, or not recognized in mainstream medicine.
Please discuss any treatment, discontinuation of treatment,
or change of treatment plans with your doctor
or professional medical specialist.
» Next page: Deaths from Ehrlichiosis
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