Tick Borne Diseases

STROUD TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - It's that time of year again when pesky ticks are lurking around, looking to feed on your or your pet. Once that tick attaches, it can do major damage if you don't spot it in time.

Dan Filipkowski of Stroudsburg says they're hard to keep up with....

"Inevitably, we'll come back with some ticks depending on where we're hiking. This time of year it's been pretty bad," he explains.

And his two dogs...

"They're our tick magnets!" he laughs.

Dr. Susheer Gabdorta with Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono says if a deer tick is feeding on a person or pet at least 36 hours, it can transmit Lyme Disease.
 
"The tick will look bigger and more swollen with blood," says Dr. Susheer Gandotra, Infectious Control & Disease DIrector.

It also causes redness and circles around the skin, commonly called a 'bulls eye'. If not treated with antibiotics early on, Lyme Disease can spread to the whole body, causing joint pain and irregular heartbeat.

"And that can cause symptoms that affect the brain, heart, and overall the patient can feel flu like illnesses," Dr. Gandotra adds.

Ticks can also cause the potentially life-threatening Powassan Virus. There's been less than 100 reported cases in the US over the past ten years, with just one in Pennsylvania in 2011. 

"It's a pretty serious disease but it's very very very rare," Dr. Gandotra says.

When it comes to ticks, Doctor Gandotra says prevention is key. He suggests using special repellant, wearing long sleeves and avoiding high grass. After spending time outdoors...

"We should go home, do a total body check and take a shower," Dr. Gandotra explains.

If you remove a tick from your skin, you can bring it to East Stroudsburg University's DNA Lab in a ziplock bag. There, they can check to see if the tick carried an infectious disease.


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