Deer Flies and Lyme's Disease
I just wanted to warn people about deer flies being a vector for Lyme's Disease. Last year, a deer fly landed just below my ankle. I smacked it with my hand and was pretty happy that I'd gotten it before it bit me. At some point after that, the spot where it had landed started to swell up until I couldn't see my ankle, and the spot turned red, then purple, and then black. I thought maybe the deer fly had bitten me after all and I was allergic to it, just like I am to anything that stings.
I started reading about deer flies and found out that people can get Tularemia from deer flies. Tularemia (deer fly fever) is a bacterial infection and is actually on the government's "watch list" for bioterrorism. Between that and the fact that I was already concerned that my foot might be rotting off, I went to the doctor. She took pictures of my foot, drew a circle directly on my foot around the area so I could monitor its spread, put me on anti-biotics (in case it was Tularemia and also because she saw that one of my ears was red inside), and sent me out to get tested for Lyme's Disease and bacteria. The test came back negative. Things got worse after a few days, so she put me on Prednisone. When things continued to get worse, she had me tested again. This time the test was positive for Lyme's and I got put back on anti-biotics. Apparently there is about a two-week window where Lyme's may or may not show up after a person has been bitten.
I learned that getting Lyme's from a deer fly is much more rare than getting it from a tick, but something I saw on the Internet said that CT, RI, NY, NJ, PA, MD, WI, and MN account for 92% of cases of Lyme's. On top of that, Nantucket County, MA was the highest in 1999 with almost 1 in 100 people contracting the disease that year. I live in south central MA, so just beware.