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Feature Article

Ticks: human health and tick bite prevention

Stephen L Doggett

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Abstract

Tick avoidance and the use of appropriate methods of tick removal reduce the potential health-related impacts of tick bites.

Key Points

  • The Paralysis tick is the most commonly encountered tick attaching to humans in Australia, and occurs along the east coast.
  • Bites from the larvae are especially frequent, particularly during mid- to late summer and early autumn (February to May).
  • Possible adverse effects from the bite include allergic reactions (even anaphylaxis), paralysis and tick typhus rickettsiae.
  • Antitoxin is available for patients suffering from tick paralysis.
  • Prevention of tick bite includes habitat avoidance and the use of insect repellents.
  • Other tick species that occasionally bite humans include the Kangaroo tick and the Brown Dog tick.

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