Zoonotic Disease Program
Ticks transmit many diseases. The ones that transmit diseases in Ohio are called "hard ticks". All tick-borne diseases in Ohio are zoonoses, that is, they are diseases of animals that can be transmitted to people. Normally, these diseases can only be transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. An infected animal or person cannot pass the infection on to another animal or person. Ticks normally become infected by taking a blood meal from an infected animal. However, with Rocky Mountain spotted fever, infected female ticks pass the infection to their offspring through the eggs. Male and female ticks feed on blood and both are capable of transmitting diseases. There are four stages in the life of a tick: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. It generally takes several months to two years to complete this life cycle. A blood meal is taken in all except the egg stage. After each blood meal, the skin is shed and the tick matures to its next life stage. Thus it is possible for a tick to transmit disease organisms three times in its life. It is also possible to become infected by handling infected ticks, such as when removing ticks from a pet, when infective body fluids are introduced into a wound or mucus membrane.
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Last updated: 08/29/2013
Vector-borne Disease Program