Interesting information regarding the size of ticks and their roles as vectors for disease. Here again, and I'm NOT disagreeing with you at all, but this is different information than was given to me by a professional wildlife biologist at the scene. You guys can fight it out, I don't have a horse in that race.
One thing my friend who did get sick from a tick in Africa, he made it clear that his discomfort from the tick fever was significant and that is why I will be better prepared for avoiding ticks for my next pursuit of a bushbuck.
Will tell you that the little bastards will kick my friends out of the way to get to me. I have had the fever enough times that I no longer get it. No US based tick repellant seems to work. About the best is at the Chemist, over the counter, Baydicol spray. Also works on sand fleas, they leave one hell of an itch where they bite, white pustule instead of the tick black mark.
Not going to fight over which tick. I lecture on this area and have not had anyone tell me different than what I stated in 20 years. Then again I am wrong a lot, always new lessons.
Saeng, that is funny, I appreciate you sharing that. I defer to you tick guys, and thanks for the heads -up. I'll see if I can get my PH to arrange for the Baydicol spray to be available when I arrive. I was a bit surprised to see the number of ticks on that animal but, there again, tick birds make their living off of...ticks. Duh, why would I be surprised?
I haven't run into the sand fleas yet, do you have input on their distribution and preferred habitat from your experience? They sound almost like fire ants we imported into the U.S. about 50 years ago and now enjoy throughout our southern region.
Sand Fleas You say.
Them buggers bite like all get out and the itch that follows is just that.
I have always taken itch cream along to help on this issue.
Hunted the East Cape last May. Unfortunately I I wound up with tick bite fever. I came back tired as would be normal. Couldn't seem to get my energy back. 5 days after returning home went to Vegas on Business. About the 3rd day there I went to visit the local ER. Fortunately I had read on here about tick bite fever and was able to tell them I thought thats what it could be. 10 days of drugs and it was gone. Its definetly something to remember and prepare for. Bruce
I soak my clothes in permethrin before I am in any tick infested area. Permethrin, blouse the pants into the boots, and if there are aerial insects, the time release DEET. I won't go off the pavement without my tick-proofs in tick season.
Now I will add insult to injury here. You have now heard about the ticks love affair for my sorry ass. I am in the Reserves. Went to get the new Marine desert camo with the insecticide treatment. Boy am I prepared, wrong. I might as well have put a board on my chest that said EATS. Didn't slow them down the least.
An aside, when you are walking through the bush and you see little mountains of sand, it is a tick nest, not a good place to take a rest.
James is right, until you have been nailed by sand fleas you don't know what itch is. Fortunately mostly on the ankles and the top of the foot.
Originally Posted by Bert the Turtle
You don't need anything to visit or hunt in the Limpopo. The most debilitating 'bug' you may catch is gastro-enteritis which is a travellers risk anyway.
You should have the normal prophylactic innoculations.
tetanus, hepatitus etc. that you would have at home if you live an outdoors life.
Ticks, sand flys and bites from rabied animals (not prevalent in the Limpopo) comes down to common sense and avoidance with normal insect repellant, sensible clothing and keeping your wits about you.
Thank you all for your comments. We have had our Hep A shots and Tetanus.
However, a local (Columbus, OH) travel clinic is pushing Typhoid shots for SA travel. Does this make sense? And what is needed for Pepper Ticks? I believe someone stated Tetracycline.
Not sure what you mean by "pushing" typhoid. My travel clinic "recommended" typhoid meds and Hep A so I got it done. I usually listen to medical people if I trust them and I think they know what they are doing (like all professions, that isn't always the case). I also don't gamble, literally or figuratively, so I take the shots/meds that are recommended to avoid major trouble a long way from home.
Can't remember the last time that I saw typhoid in SA, not one to worry about. A lot of cholera, don't drink out of the streams. Bore hole water is fine. No shots for tick bite fever. as noted above I like to suggest getting a prescription of 20 500mg tetracycline tabs, dose is one pill, twice/day, 10 days.
Originally Posted by bandryc
After my last SA hunt last April I am now somewhat of an expert on "Tick Fever". Yes I caught it. No it's not really terrible. But yes you will be sick for a couple days. Lethargy, no appetite, slight nausea, happens mostly early in the season with wetter weather and there are 2 different types of tick fever brought on by which of the 2 species of tick bites you. It is very treatable (but you MUST complete the whole regime of pills, usually 10 days or it will return in 6 months). Each tick of the 2 types that cause "tick fever" has a very specific antibiotic for treatment (mine was, doxicyclene, I believe that is the correct spelling. It is searchable by type of tick on the internet). Don't think for a moment that just any broad spectrum antibiotic will kill it. THE LAST SENTENCE IS STRAIGHT FROM A RENOWNED DOCTOR IN SOUTH AFRICA, EXPERT ON TICK AND SPIDER BITES, who treated me. When I walked in he said, "oh, you got bit 7 days ago". Pepper ticks are the young, larval stage of regular ticks, not a different type of tick. Could be either one of the two mentioned. They are about the size of and look like a grain of ground pepper. Look yourself over each day especially in folds of skin (women also, as one of our troop found them under a "fold of skin" on her chest). Hep A is always a good shot to get and SA is usually a place where not too many shots are needed. My wife looks on the CDC site every trip for updates. Hope this dissertation on Tick Fever helps. It's not a killer for the trip, just unpleasant for a few days. You can search this forum for my previous post on this malady.