A recent tick survey out of Gaithersburg, Maryland, reveals a type of tick not common to the area inhabits a Montgomery County park and that there are numbers of tick varieties infected with pathogens capable of making people sick.

Dr. Ahmed Kilani is president of Clongen Laboratories, which is FDA registered and specializes in diagnosing tick-borne illness. When two of his neighbors got Lyme disease in Montgomery County, Kilani was inspired to conduct the research.

Kilani found that more than 95 percent of the ticks collected in and around Quince Orchard Park on June 24 were Lone Star Ticks.

“We were quite surprised… according to the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], these ticks are supposed to be found in the southern parts of the country,” says Kilani.

Lone Star Ticks have been detected as far north as Maine, but are primarily found in the southeastern and eastern United States, according to the CDC.

Kilani surmises that a single herd of deer in the Quince Orchard Park area has served as a host to incubate a growing Lone Star Tick population.

Kilani collected ticks from 15 hot zones — also known as high grass areas — around Quince Orchard Park.

Tests revealed some ticks carry three common pathogens that can make people sick. Two of the ailments can be fatal if not treated appropriately and one can cause a rash.

None of the pathogens is associated with Lyme disease.

Below are highlights from Kilani’s research:

  • 50 percent were infected with Babesia species, which can cause flu-like symptoms and can be fatal especially to people with suppressed immune systems.
  • 25 percent were infected with Borrelia lonestari, which can cause a rash.

13 percent were infected with Anaplasma phagocytophilum, which can kill even healthy people if not treated correctly

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