Most ticks do not
elicit any response from their host while feeding. Ticks in the genera
Dermacentor and Ixodes have been implicated in tick paralysis,
a condition characterized by an acute, ascending, flaccid motor paralysis
that can result in death if the tick is not removed. The condition is
believed to be caused by toxins in the ticks' saliva.
In most cases, ticks need only to be identified to the genus
level to rule-out potential vectors of disease. Ticks are best
identified by examining non-engorged adults. Nymphs may lack certain
diagnostic features and in engorged individuals, certain features (festoons,
anal groove) may be difficult to see. The geographic location of the
tick can also be important for accessing the public health importance.
There is no specific treatment for ticks specifically,
outside of the complete removal of the parasite from the skin.
Ticks are best removed by firmly grasping the mouthparts with fine
forceps, and gently pulling away at a 45° angle. Vaseline and
other ointments should not be used, as they cause the ticks to vomit,
possibly inoculating the host with a pathogen. The best way to
control ticks, and reduce the chances of acquiring tick-borne diseases,
is habitat management (decreasing humidity and harborage that support
egg-laying and sheltered areas).