The loathsome deer tick, now known as the black-legged tick, is defined more by the disease it spreads than by its own characteristics.
These blood-sucking members of the arachnid family were vaulted into the public consciousness in the mid-1970s when it was discovered that they are the primary (and possibly only) transmitters, or vectors, for Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is a debilitating, though rarely fatal, infection that is often misdiagnosed because early symptoms closely resemble the flu. Victims usually have a slowly-spreading bull’s-eye-shaped rash where the tick attached, but not always. If untreated by antibiotics, patients can develop a variety of health problems, including facial paralysis, heart palpitations, arthritis, severe headaches, and neurological disorders.
Lyme disease is currently one of the fastest-growing vector-borne