Health Department Releases Information on Lyme Disease

The Tuscarawas County Health Department is asking the community to consider the risk of Lyme disease as we head into the warmer months.

The following information was released by the health department:

Lyme disease cases are increasing in Ohio as the range of black-legged tick populations continues to expand in the state and encounters with this tick occur more frequently, particularly in the forest habitats preferred by this tick. In 2017, Tuscarawas County had 5 confirmed cases of Lyme disease compared to 0 in 2017, 1 in 2015 and 1 in 2012.  Canine confirmed cases of Lyme disease are also on the rise in 2018.

Most humans are infected through the bites of immature ticks called nymphs.  Nymphs are tiny (less than 2 mm) and difficult to see; they feed during the spring and summer months.  Adult ticks can also transmit Lyme disease bacter, but they are much larger and are more likely to be discovered and removed before they have had time to transmit the bacteria.  Adult black-legged ticks are most active during the cooler months of the year.

The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites.  If you find a tick on your body, remove it quickly to reduce the risk of contracting Lyme disease.  See a healthcare provider if you do feel sick.  Lyme disease is curable.  Early diagnosis and treatment are important in order to avoid further health problems related to Lyme disease.

Early symptoms of Lyme disease typically begin three to 30 days after a tick bite and can include:

– Erythema migrans rash (“bull’s eye rash”)
– Headache
– Fever
–  Chills
– Muscle pain
–  Joint pain
– Fatigue

Many of these symptoms are not specific to Lyme disease and can be caused by a variety of different factors.  However, the erythema migrans (EM) rash is often characteristic of Lyme disease.  This is a rash that often begins at the site of the tick bite and gradually expands.  The center of the rash may clear as it enlarges, giving it the appearance of a bull’s eye or target.  The rash usually appears within seven to 14 days after the tick bite.  The rash may be warm, but it is usually not painful or itchy.

Michaela Madison Reporting

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