Prevention

The same precautions that prevent Lyme disease should also be taken to prevent HGE. Avoiding tick habitat is the best way to prevent tick bites, but ticks may also be found in lawns, gardens, and on bushes adjacent to homes.

When walking in the woods, children should stay on trails and avoid brushing up against low bushes or tall grass. Ticks do not hop, jump, fly, or descend from trees—a child must come in direct contact with them. To prevent bites, children should wear protective clothing (light-colored, long-sleeve shirts and light-colored pants tucked into boots or socks). The light-colored clothing allows ticks to be more easily spotted.

Ticks and their hosts (mice, chipmunks, voles, and other small mammals) need moisture, a place hidden from direct sun, and a place to hide. The clearer the area around a house, the less chance there will be of getting a tick bite. All leaf litter and brush should be removed as far as possible away from the house. Low-lying bushes should be pruned to let in more sun. Leaves should be raked up every fall, since ticks prefer to overwinter in fallen leaves. Woodpiles are favorite hiding places for mammals carrying ticks, so woodpiles should be neat, off the ground, in a sunny place, and under cover.

Gardens should be cleaned up every fall, since foliage left on the ground over the winter can provide shelter for mammals that may harbor ticks. Stone walls on the property increase the potential for ticks.

ehrlichiosis, human monocytic The first type of ehrlichiosis that was discovered in 1985, and which is transmitted by the lone star tick (Ambly-omma americanum). About 425 cases have been reported from 30 states, including 10 deaths. Since 1986 about 400 cases have been confirmed in 30 states, mostly in the southeastern and south central United States; nine people have died.

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