Survey reveals ticks uncommon to area inhabit Montgomery County

WASHINGTON — 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.

Map (Courtesy Ahmed Kilani)

Dr. Ahmed Kilani created a map of the areas of Quince Orchard park he collected and tested ticks. (Courtesy Ahmed Kilani)

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.

To help avoid all those ailments in addition to tick-borne Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, experts recommend people take measures to repel ticks, examine themselves when coming indoors, quickly remove ticks and consult a doctor if a rash or other symptoms occur.

Some tick-borne ailments present no symptoms while some others may make people feel sick with various combinations of symptoms including headache, extreme fatigue, muscle or joint pain and fever.

If “signs of inflammation start appearing early on following a tick bite,” Kilani’s Clongen Laboratories report recommends taking the tick to the doctor in a zip lock bag. Having the critter to examine could help a doctor diagnose and treat any potential ailments.

View the entire report:

Tick Drag Project Summary – Clongen-Final

Related Stories:

Follow @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up