This has been an especially bad year for ticks. Well, from the tick’s point of view, this would be regarded as an especially good year for ticks, but for humans and dogs it has been a constant nuisance.
As if we did not have enough worries with the COVID-19 pandemic, we also have to avoid being bitten by a deer tick and contracting Lyme disease. This is a serious health threat; over the past 10 or 12 years, both my wife and one of my grandsons have been infected with Lyme disease, and it is a nasty malady.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne (parasite-carried) illness in the United States, transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected deer tick, also known as a blacklegged tick. It is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, and symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, and skin rash. In most cases, it can be treated with a few weeks’ course of antibiotics, but the infection can potentially spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system, causing horrible health problems.
After the fifth or sixth time I came home from a morning walk with my dog Abbey this April and May and discovered a tick or ticks wandering around on my person seeking closer attachment, I designated this the Year of the Tick. Yes, I an aware that the 12 years of the cyclical Chinese Zodiac are represented by the signs of the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. But I am creating a North Country Zodiac, and it includes the Sign of the Tick. And this is definitely the Tick’s year.