Appalachian Trail Histories


Deer Ticks

Not much unlike a spider, the deer tick has eight legs, are generally small in size, and can be found nearly everywhere on the Appalachian Trail between Northern Virginia and Southern Maine.  Symptoms are very similar to a mosquito bite and generally last about as long, however there is potential for a deadly side effect; Lyme Disease.  This disease is caused by Borrelia Burgdorferi, a bacterium most commonly found in Deer Ticks.  Typical symptoms of this include; headache, fatigue, fever, skin rashes and migraines.  If left untreated the bacteria can travel to the heart and nervous system.

Not to worry though, only about 1%-2% of people bitten contract this disease.  Many times the diagnosis is faulty, but people are treated for Lyme regardless.  Every year, the Centers for Disease Control estimate around 300,000 cases of Lyme disease.  Also, in 2013 AT hiker surveys showed that about 9% of hikers were treated for this disease.  However, Justin Lichter (also known as Trauma) believes that those figures are much too low.  Being tuned in with through-hiker groups he estimates that at least 30% and probably more than 40% of AT through-hikers contract Lyme disease and are not being treated for it.  With these estimations and opinions, the likelihood of contracting Lyme appears to be much higher than 1%-2%.  Therefore, it is highly recommended that you take proper precautions and wear insect repellant, do daily body checks and wear permethrin-treated clothing.