Director: David Fiess, MPA Phone: (260) 449-7459 FAX: (260) 449-7460 Email: dave.fiess@allencounty.us
Location: 2242 Carroll Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46818 Hours: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday
Meet the Staff: Josh Blauvelt, BS, CHHS, Asst. Director; Tom McCue, BS, Env. Health Specialist II; Francis Koch, Env.Technician; Pat De Haven, Secretary; Seasonal Mosquito Technicians

Ticks

Ticks are found in grassy, brushy areas where they wait for a host to pass by.  They are especially prevalent along paths used by animals.  Ticks are not choosy about their host and often get onto a person's leg.  They crawl upward on the body, looking for a place to attach.  Their populations are greater than in the spring and summer following a mild winter.

Ticks have a 4-stage life cycle:  egg, larvae, nymph, and adult.  The nymph and adult forms are able to attach to humans and other animals and possibly transmit diseases.

A tick bite is not painful and may go unnoticed.  In most cases, the tick simply bites, draws blood for its nourishment, and drops off.  If the tick happens to be infected, the infectious agent is transmitted during the feeding process.  It is important to realize the majority of ticks are not infected.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

  • Avoid tick-infested areas.
  • Wear light-colored clothing so ticks can be seen.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and tuck pants into socks.
  • Apply insect repellants containing DEET to clothing and exposed skin.  Read guidelines on the can for application on children.
  • Check your body thoroughly for ticks.

The number of ticks in endemic residential areas may be reduced by removing leaf litter, brush and woodpiles around houses and at the edges of yards, and by clearing trees and brush to admit more sunlight and reduce the amount of suitable habitat for deer, rodents, and ticks.  Tick populations have also been effectively suppressed through the application of pesticides to residential properties.

HOW TO REMOVE A TICK

  1. Use tweezers.  Grasp the tick by the head as close as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure.  DO NOT TWIST, JERK OR SQUEEZE THE TICK.
  2. Thoroughly wash the bite with soap and water and disinfect the bite.  Wash your hands.
  3. Never remove a tick with fingernail polish, alcohol or hot matches.

TESTING OF TICKS

Currently, the Fort Wayne - Allen County Department of Health does not have means to have ticks tested for diseases.  We can identify the tick and provide information on what diseases it could carry.  If symptoms appear, a physician can be informed what kind of tick it was and disease the tick could carry.  Then appropriate treatment can occur.

DISEASES
(Information taken from CDC websites)

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Tick:  American dog tick (Dermacentor variablis); Largest tick in Indiana; Most prevalent in Allen County; Appears from April to July; Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum) can also carry and transmit RMSF

Agent:  Rickettsia ricketsii

Incubation:  5 - 10 days after bite

Initial Symptoms:

  • Fever, nausea, vomiting, severe headache, muscle pain, and lack of appetite

Later Symptoms:

  • Rash, abdominal pain, joint pain, and diarrhea

Lyme Disease

Tick:  Black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis); Smallest tick in Indiana; Appears from September to November

Agent:  Borrelia burgdorferi

Incubation:  3 - 30 days after bite

Initial Symptoms:

  • "Bulls-eye" rash, tiredness, fever, headache, stiff neck, muscle ache, and joint pain

Later Symptoms:

  • Arthritis, large joint swelling and pain, neurologic abnormalities, and encephalitis

Ehrlichiosis

Tick:  Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum); White-tailed deer are a major host

Agent:  Ehrlichia chaffeensis

Incubation:  5 - 10 days after bite

Initial Symptoms:

  • Fever, headache, malaise, and muscle aches

Other Symptoms:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, joint pains, confusion, and occasionally rash

Babesiosis

Tick:  Black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis); Smallest tick in Indiana; Appears from September to November

Agent:  parasite Babesia microti

Incubation:  1 week to months after bite

Initial Symptoms:  Fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea, or fatigue

Other Symptoms:  Jaundice, dark urine

American dog tick Black-legged tick Lone Star tick Engorged American Dog Tick

American Dog Tick

Black-legged Tick

Lone Star Tick

Engorged American
Dog Tick

HELPFUL INFORMATION

 

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Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to see large image.
  • Trina Riecke, Lead Case Manager, conducts a developmental assessment of a lead-poisoned child.
  • Lucky the Lead Free Lemur is a mascot of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.  He appears at health fairs and other events to promote lead prevention.
  • This engorged American Dog Tick was pulled off a human.  To prevent tick attachment, wear light-colored clothing, long pants with the bottoms placed into the top of socks, and apply a DEET-product to your clothing.  Check your clothing and body after exiting a high grass or wooded area.
  • De-rimmed tires breed mosquitoes and can provide drinking water for rats.  Culex species, ones that can carry WNv, and Ae. triseriatus, carrier of LaCrosse Encephalitis, use tires as a habitat when in the larval form.  The sun heats the black rubber allowing for increased mosquito production, even when it is cool out.  Tires should be properly disposed of or covered to prevent mosquito breeding.
  • A female Culex mosquito laying an egg raft, which can consist of 200-300 eggs.
  • A blood sample to be tested for lead is taken from a capillary in the tip of the finger.
  • Mold needs water to grow.  Remove the water source and there won't be a mold problem.
  • The American dog tick is the largest tick in Indiana and can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
  • Children enjoy meeting Lucky the Lead Free Lemur.
  • Sticky traps are a great tool to catch cockroaches.
  • Trina Riecke educates a citizen about how to maintain a healthy and safe home.
  • Rats like to eat grease, as can be seen in the pan on the stove.
  • Educating the public on Vector-borne diseases is an on-going effort.
  • Ae. triseriatus, a carrier of LaCrosse Encephalitis, lays her eggs in treeholes and containers.
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Cockroach infestation in kitchen cabinet.
  • Mosquitofish can be placed into ornamental ponds to eat mosquito larvae.  The fish only get to be an inch in length.
  • Un-maintained swimming pools are perfect for breeding the mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus.
  • Double whammy for mosquito breeding - uncovered boat with un-rimmed tire in it.
  • Notice the pop can the rats tried pulling into a burrow.
  • This rat ate poison bait stored in a secure station.
  • Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become infected if scratched too much.
  • Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Free radon test kits are available at the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health.
  • Ingredients taken from a meth lab that was found in a house.
Did You Know?

Rabies may have inspired the vampire legend (Reuters, Nov 1999).