Does This NY Man Have Superpowers?! Ticks ‘Die’ When They Bite Him
This seems like something you'd see in a Marvel movie.
Dr. Richard Ostfeld, an New York-based ecologist who's spent decades studying the blood-sucking pests, says he's been bitten hundreds of times. And by repeatedly subjecting himself to such unpleasantries, Ostfeld says he's now immune to tick bites.
Not only that... he says they die if they try.
HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?
When a person is bitten by a tick, the parasite releases special proteins and molecules into the host that help it go undetected while it consumes its blood meal.
But it's biologically possible, like in the case of Dr. Ostfeld, that the immune system can develop an ability to identify these proteins and mount a counteroffensive.
This ability is uncommon, and not many people have it. But it's believed that the body can be conditioned to do this with repeated tick bites. Obviously, this goes against conventional medical advice. Experts tend to agree that you should avoid ticks at all costs due to the threat of disease.
WHAT ABOUT LYME DISEASE?
Despite countless tick bites, Dr. Ostfeld says he is Lyme-free. Lyme disease, one of the most prevalent and well-known tick-borne illnesses, includes symptoms such as fatigue, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes.
Dr. Ostfeld has spent over 20 years studying ticks in the Hudson Valley region, and runs the Tick Project, which studies strategies for lowering the tick population. His research is headquartered at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York.
Of course, not all of us have superpowers like Dr. Richard Ostfeld. Below are 8 types of ticks you should be on the lookout for in New York this summer: