Monday, June 2, 2014

Ticks in Alaska

In the past three years, Beckmen has found at least two other types of ticks that have taken up residence in the Last Frontier and appear to be here to stay: the American dog tick and brown dog tick. Both ticks have been found on dogs or cats that have never left the state, a sign the parasitic arachnids can — and are — surviving in Alaska.

Wildlife disease specialists also say the establishment of new ticks in Alaska poses a risk to all sorts of wildlife, from caribou to coyote to fox to moose to Sitka black-tailed deer to wolves.

“Everybody needs to stop being in denial,” Beckmen said. “Ticks are spreading north. There is transmission going on in Alaska.”
Beckmen rattled off a list of diseases that could be introduced in Alaska as a result of ticks. They included Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, canine ehrlichiosis, canine babesiosis, anaplasmosis, tick paralysis and tick fever.

Lyme in Alaska

There have been several cases of imported Lyme disease in Alaska. The most recent involved an eight year old white male who visited Fauquier County, Virginia on June 23, 1991. He spent the day playing in the woods and afterwards was noted by his mother to have four ticks, including one which was engorged, on his body. The ticks were identified by a local resident as "deer ticks", likely Ixodes damini.
Approximately 10 days later his mother noticed a raised, red, circular area near the sight of one of the tick bites on the nape of his neck. This grew to a maximum diameter of 8 cm. and then faded over several weeks. There was no central clearing of the lesion. On returning to Alaska near the end of July, the child was described as being more moody, particularly more fussy and depressed.
On August 9, the child was brought to a local physician for a draining ear which was treated with a topical antibiotic. After hearing the history of an annular skin lesion, moodiness, and recent tick exposure,  See More