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Ticks that have the potential to spread Lyme disease, known as deer or blacklegged ticks, have been found throughout Washtenaw County. The Washtenaw County Health Department is urging residents to take steps to prevent tick bites, and to send ticks in for identification and testing.
“We have a number of emerging deer tick populations locally,” says Laura Bauman, epidemiology manager at the Washtenaw County Health Department. “It’s time all residents learn the best ways to prevent tick bites, make tick checks part of their summer routines, and submit ticks for testing.”
Transmission season for Lyme disease in Michigan typically occurs from May through August, with a peak in June. There were 10 cases of Lyme disease among Washtenaw County residents in 2017. Two of these cases were likely exposed within the county. The others were likely exposed in other Michigan counties or outside of the state.
The Washtenaw County Health Department recommends the following precautions to prevent Lyme disease:
The deer ticks found in Washtenaw County were identified by the State through tick drags and residents’ tick submissions.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged (deer) ticks. The more common and larger dog tick does not carry Lyme disease.
Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a skin rash at the site of the tick bite that may look like a bull’s eye or target. Untreated infections may spread to the joints, heart and nervous system. Infections are diagnosed based on symptoms and the possibility of contact with infected ticks. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics.
Learn more at www.washtenaw.org/lyme or www.cdc.gov/lyme.