Ticks then and now?

After having to pull off a number of ticks during my recent battlefield walks (only one bite) I was wondering what ticks were like during the Civil War. I have read about flies, mosquitoes, chiggers and lice but I can’t recall reading about ticks. Are they more of a problem now then they were then. Does any one out there know?


Anonymous said…
Great question. The common dog tick was certainly around during the Civil War, and would likely have been a nuisance for soldiers in the field in the eastern Theater. The landscape was far more open than it is today, with more agricultural fields and less forest cover. The deer population was greatly reduced, and with it a required host for the lyme disease bearing deer tick. In fact, Lyme disease was unknown to science until quite recently, and may have made the jump from deer and mice to humans after the populations of both host species met new elevated thresholds in the latter part of the 20th century. "Lyme" ticks are certainly more of a problem today, although there are other tick borne diseases and some of these may have been factors during the Civil War from other host ticks. I wonder whether some of the Rheumatism cases diagnosed after months of sleeping on damp ground could have been bone and joint ailments with tick-borne diseases as an unrecognized factor? I am now well out of my depth, but as a buff who is also a conservation professional I couldn't resist a response to your query.

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