Thursday, November 13, 2008
The lonely hitch hiker
M came back from his after work hours adventure last night all sweaty and exhausted. They had to do a two hour walk in an hour to get to the campsite. Turns out it was a case of he said - she said, with the cabin owner pitted against the campers.
M parked himself on the couch, trying madly to take down notes in his incident book, when he felt something on his arm. It was a tick attempting to dig its way deeper. He removed it and we took some photos because I wanted to identify what species it was (this wasn't the first time we've had ticks). I was a bit worried in case it was a paralysis tick (for Dog mainly, because it could kill him).
Interesting fact: there are around 75 species of ticks in Australia.
I've always been worried about lyme disease, but when I was trying to identify the tick last night I found that the disease is mainly confined to the northern hemisphere. There have been no confirmed cases in Australia, which is strange because M and his mother have been telling me that his grandmother contracted the disease from a tick bite. She died a fews years later from heart failure, but they maintain that her decline began as a result of the tick bite. Maybe she had underlying health issues, because all my text say that it's a curable disease. Now I'm not so worried about them.
M's family is full of tropical diseases. His uncle suffered from Ross River virus for years. Every year he'd be down and out for a week with fever. The fevers would occur at exactly the same time each year. Then he got encephalitis from a mozzie bite on his property. The good news is that his annual ross river virus fever disappeared but now he's lost his balance, and can't cope with vibrations (ie driving for long distances, mowing etc).
Back to the tick. I think it was a paralysis tick, not 100%. Ixodes holocyclus