The importance of tick control is well-documented, and so are the damages Lyme disease can cause. But Lyme disease is rarely fatal. In fact, only four Lyme disease-related deaths have been reported, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the death of three individuals is now under investigation, since it's suspected that a Lyme disease condition, called Lyme carditis, may have been the cause, reported NBC News.
One of the victims was found dead in a car that veered off the road. The two others suddenly collapsed and died. Two of the victims had reported symptoms consistent with Lyme disease, like aches and pains in the joints, in the week leading up to their death.
Lyme carditis is suspected to be responsible. When Lyme disease bacteria enter the tissue of the heart, Lyme carditis occurs. The resulting effects cause what's called a "heart block." Patients report a fever, body aches and other symptoms associated with Lyme disease.
"We believe it's rare. We are trying to find out how rare," said Dr. Joe Forrester, a CDC epidemiologist.
The only real way to prevent Lyme disease is to make sure you don't get a tick. Or, if you do get a tick, remove it immediately. Avoiding heavily wooded or overgrown areas will increase the likelihood of escaping a tick bite. If you do venture down a trail, be sure to walk in the center of it, away from the brush and twigs, the area where ticks wait for a potential host to brush by them so they can latch on.
After coming inside, check yourself thoroughly for ticks and bathe or shower as soon as you can.
It's also important to check your pets for ticks after they've been outdoors. Tick bites on dogs and cats may be difficult to catch, so using a fine-toothed comb on their fur to find the pests is a must for proper tick control in your home.
There are also products designed for your pets that will repel ticks. For example, the Hartz® UltraGuard Plus® Flea & Tick Collar for Dogs kills and repels ticks for up to seven months.
This content is provided by the flea treatment experts at Hartz. We offer flea sprays, shampoos and drops to keep your pets safe inside and outside your home.