June 20, 2019

Public needs to help in efforts to thwart ticks

By Karl Oestreich

Star Tribune (Editorial)

Late last month, a Mayo Clinic physician writing in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal sounded the alarm after researchers documented the first human bite by this tick in the U.S. (a 66-year-old man in Yonkers, N.Y.). Like the dog and blacklegged (deer) ticks that Minnesotans are well familiar with, this new tick could harbor germs that cause serious illness in people. “It is clear that this is invasive species is here to stay for the foreseeable future,’’ Mayo’s Dr. Bobbi S. Pritt wrote in the journal article. Pritt also called for public awareness campaigns about the tick’s spread and the risk for human contact in areas such as sunlit, closely mowed lawns vs. the shadier, brushy habitat that blacklegged ticks prefer. Pritt noted another feature: The female Asian long-horned tick doesn’t need a male to reproduce, with this leading to “massive infestations of a single host.’’

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Related coverage:
Star Tribune, Ticks are out and carrying diseases — Ready or not, ticks are out. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness, but it’s not the only concern, said Dr. Bobbi Pritt, a parasitic diseases expert at Mayo Clinic.

Context: Bobbi Pritt, M.D. is a Mayo Clinic pathologist. Dr. Pritt's research focus is in clinical parasitology, vector-borne diseases, trainee education and appropriate test utilization. Dr. Pritt's work has resulted in the implementation of rapid and highly sensitive molecular tests for important human infections, including malaria, microsporidiosis, Lyme disease and Borrelia miyamotoiinfection. Malaria, in particular, is a potentially fatal disease and a leading cause of infant mortality worldwide. In the U.S., malaria is most commonly seen in individuals who have traveled to or emigrated from endemic areas such as parts of Africa, Asia and South America. You can learn more about Dr. Pritt in this Mayo Clinic in the Loop profile or in her Creepy, Dreadful, Wonderful Parasites blog.

Contact: Bob Nellis

Tags: Dr. Bobi Pritt, pathology, Star Tribune, tick-borne disease, ticks, Uncategorized, Uncategorized, Vector-Borne Diseases Lab Services at Mayo Clinic

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