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Warmer Weather - Concerns about Ticks

Here is some helpful information to help keep you and your furry friends safe.

As the weather warms and people once again take to the outdoors, state officials are reminding residents that in addition to health and safety protocols for covid-19, there is also one of the state’s most persistent pests to consider: the black-legged tick, the primary vector for Lyme disease in Pennsylvania.


States from Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania all the way up the Eastern Seaboard are categorized as “high incidence” for Lyme disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2018, Pennsylvania reported more than 7,900 confirmed Lyme cases, the highest in the nation. New Jersey is the second highest, but with only 2,876 confirmed cases it has less than half of Pennsylvania’s Lyme numbers.

Black-legged, or deer ticks, are the most common carriers for both Lyme disease and anaplasmosis, a bacterial infection that can be even more serious than Lyme.


They typically thrive in tall grass, brush and wooded areas, but DEP officials said they have been found in every county in Pennsylvania and can live in nearly any habitat.

We must remain diligent, both in protecting ourselves from bites.

Simple ways to reduce your chance of a tick bite are:

• Cover exposed skin with lightweight, light-colored clothing.

• Avoid tick-infested habitats like densely forested areas or tall grass.

• Use an insect repellent containing 20% or more DEET.

• Immediately check yourself, children and pets for ticks upon arriving home.

• Take a shower immediately to remove any ticks.

• If possible, dry your clothing and gear in a dryer to kill any unattached ticks.

Common signs of a tick disease include fever, headache, chills and muscle aches. Lyme often presents with a “bull’s-eye”-style rash, but not always.

Ticks are most likely to infect humans in late spring and summer, but can be active year-round in some areas.

 

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and rarely, Borrelia mayonii. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks. Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.

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