Types of Ticks on Humans

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Ticks are the leading cause of diseases transmitted to humans, according to eMedicineHealth.com. The tick, like the spider, is an arthropod. Ticks belong to two types of families, the hard ticks called Ixodidae and the soft ticks, called Argasidae.

Many of the varieties of ticks can inflict a bite--and possibly transmit an infection such as Lyme disease--on humans.

Where Ticks Are Found

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The tick life cycle begins with the larva and nymph. They are so tiny that they resemble a small plant seed and are referred to as a seed tick. The tick is most often found in the brush, grass, trees and logs of wooded areas. Ticks most often found in the wooded areas are the American dog tick, deer tick and wood tick. The ticks do not fly or jump, but when an animal passes by the brush or grasses where they reside, the tick will attach to that animal. Humans have been attacked in the same manner or by close contact with the affected animal.

Soft Tick

The soft tick or Argasidae has a rounded body and usually only feeds on its hosts for about an hour, transmitting any disease within a minute after inflicting the bite. The bite of the soft tick can be quite painful. Two varieties of soft ticks are the common fowl tick and the relapsing fever tick. Birds and bats are most often affected by these ticks and humans who interact with any of these creatures, especially in chicken houses, can be attacked by the soft shell ticks.

Hard Tick

The hard ticks or Ixodidae are more prominent and affect animals and humans alike. Hard ticks have a hard back plate on their bodies, which defines their appearance. They can feed on their hosts for hours to days, with an infectious disease being passed on at the end of their feeding time. Some varieties of hard tick that can attack humans are the brown dog tick, the American dog tick, the deer tick, the Lone Star tick and the Pacific or Western blacklegged tick.

Tick Borne Diseases on Humans

The most common tick-borne disease that can affect animals and humans alike is Lyme disease, which is most often passed on from the Deer tick and the Lone Star tick. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be infected on a human through the toxic bite of the American Dog tick, the wood tick or the Lone Star tick. Ticks are not literally born with a disease but contract it from feeding on an infected animal host or prey. It is then passed on to humans through the bacteria in their bite.