North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) advises people to take precautions against ticks and the diseases they carry.

There are many different kinds of ticks, but the most common ticks that people come across in North Dakota are the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) and the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis), also commonly known as the deer tick. In 2019 the Lone Star tick was identified in North Dakota as well. Commonly found ticks in western North Dakota include the American Dog Tick and the Brown Dog Tick.

The North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services is asking people to watch for Lone Star ticks and submit pictures and information by email.

“The highest risk of tickborne disease transmission occurs between late spring and early fall,” says Amanda Bakken, an epidemiologist with the HHS Public Health Division. “The key to preventing tickborne diseases, such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, is to avoid tick bites and find and remove ticks promptly.”

Ticks are not just present in forests and fields. They can be common and numerous in parks, along jogging paths and anywhere that wildlife roams. They wait, with their front legs stretched out, on the tips of leaves or stems for a food source to brush up against their perch. When this happens, they latch on. Each medically important species of tick has different habitat needs. Understand tick habitat and know when you are at risk of exposure.

Did you know? Treating your clothes prior to venturing out in tick-prone areas is one way to help prevent tick bites. If spending time outside, it is always a good idea to do a quick tick check.

Pets need protection from ticks as well as people, because ticks can infect dogs and cats with disease organisms that make them sick. Plus dogs and cats can suffer pain and itching from tick bites.

Fever, chills, headache, weariness, muscular pains, and joint pain are some of the mosttypical tickborne illness symptoms. To avoid potentially serious complications, it is  crucIal to identify tickborne infections as early as possible.  After spending time  outdoors, anyone who experience symptoms that could be caused by tick-borne illness should contact doctor.

With the assistance of voluntarily participating individuals from all around the state, HHSis once again conducting tick monitoring. From April through November, ticks are sent infor identification and testing. The HHS Public Health Division needs to conduct this  surveillance to better understand the types of ticks and tickborne illnesses that exist in North Dakota.

The public can also help by submitting pictures and location information about ticks they find by emailing NDTicks@nd.gov.

The majority of the ticks gathered in 2022 were found to be American dog ticks, which can spread tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Deer ticks, which can transmit diseases like Powassan virus, babesiosis, and Lyme disease, were provided by one county. Here are the six types of ticks found in North Dakota. https://birdwatchinghq.com/ticks-in-north-dakota/

According to researchers, it is challenging to forecast how the tick season will unfold. However, this year's mild winter and early snowmelt could result in more ticks than usual as well as larger spread of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, according to scientists.

HHS offers the following tips to help reduce the risk of tick bites:

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellent. To find EPA-registered products, go to epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-insect-repellent-right-you. Always follow label directions.
  • Use products that contain permethrin to treat clothing and gear such as boots, backpacks, and tents.
  • Talk with your veterinarian about using tick preventives on your pet.
  • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with tall grass and leaf litter.
  • Walk in the center of trails.
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks. Remove attached ticks promptly.
  • Carefully examine gear and pets for ticks.
  • Place clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors.

Quiz: Do you know your state insect?

Stacker has used a variety of sources to compile a list of the official state insect(s) of each U.S. state, as well as their unique characteristics. Read on to see if you can guess which insect(s) represent your state. 

Gallery Credit: Andrew Vale

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