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A New Virus From Tick Bites in Missouri


In Missouri, we have a new reason to fear the tick. These parasites, especially blacklegged ticks, or deer ticks, are known for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease.  Unfortunately, a newly discovered tick-borne virus has been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and does not respond to the antibiotics that are used to treat other tick-borne diseases in Missouri. The new virus is called the Heartland virus, named for the St. Joseph hospital where two farmers from St. Joseph were treated for fatigue and fever back in 2009.  

Research entomologists are saying that with the presence of this new disease, we have even more reason to take precautions to avoid picking up these pests while outdoors.  Here are a few tick bite prevention tips from the St. Louis pest control professionals at Rottler to help you and your family as well as your pets avoid picking up ticks this summer. 

  • When spending time outdoors, apply a tick repellent that contains Permethrin to your clothing. Permethrin-based repellents should never be used directly on the skin. 
  • Protect your pets by using a flea and tick treatment that is supplied by your veterinarian’s office.  Make sure you buy the appropriate strength, depending on your pet’s weight and apply it as directed. 
  • Control ticks in your yard by reducing leaf litter and keeping your grass cut short. 
  • Check your body for any ticks you may have picked up while spending time outdoors. 
  • Check your pets for ticks after returning indoors. 
  • Stay in the middle of walking paths and avoid walking through areas of high brush. 
  • Wear light colored clothing so that you can identify a tick on your clothing before it has a chance to find your skin. 
  • Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants; make sure your pants are tucked into your socks to keep ticks out. 
  • Keep your hair tied back while spending time outdoors. 
  • Have a professional pest control technician utilize a tick prevention treatment around the perimeter of your property. 

All of these tick prevention tips can be used to help you avoid picking up ticks while outdoors. If you should find a tick on your skin, you can remove it and place it in a sealed container. At this point, you should contact your doctor’s office to find out if the tick needs to be tested for Lyme disease or even the Heartland virus.  The new virus is known to cause low white blood cell counts, fever, chills, body aches, nausea and diarrhea. At this time, there is no treatment for this virus and if you get it, you can expect to spend at least a couple of weeks in the hospital recovering. If you should start to notice any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. 

Keep your family protected, as well as your pets, from the dangers that can come from tick bites in Missouri; for more information on tick control services in St. Louis or elsewhere in Mid-Missouri, contact the St. Louis pest professionals at Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions. 

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