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Ticks spread more than just lyme disease

Sunday - 8/21/2011, 9:41am  ET

WASHINGTON - Ticks are most well-known for spreading lyme disease, but there are other tick-borne diseases to worry about in the D.C. area.

There have been 11 case of Rocky Mountain Fever reported so far this year in Fairfax County, and another four in Prince William County, David Gaines, the public health entomologist for Virginia tells InsideNova.com. A case of the disease has also been reported in Maryland.

The disease is carried by the American Dog Tick, and caused two deaths last year.

The symptoms are a sudden onset of a moderate to high fever, severe headaches, fatigue, deep muscle pain, chills and a rash. They usually appear within two weeks of the bite of an infected tick.

Ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis are other diseases carried by ticks that have similar symptoms to RMSF.

An annual average of one case of RMSF had been reported a year until an upswing began about five years ago because of the increase in the deer population.

Gaines says the most common tick in Virginia is the Lone Star Tick, which carries ehrlichiosis

The best way to avoid any tick-borne illness is to avoid being bitten by a tick or letting a tick stay on you long enough to transfer the diseases.

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