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Lyme Disease Awareness

posted on Friday, May 03, 2019.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month

With the warmer weather, people are spending time enjoying outdoor activities. Ticks are also becoming active, resulting in greater opportunity for tick bites, which can transmit Lyme disease and other illnesses. The City of Racine Public Health Department wants all residents and visitors to know how to protect themselves from tick bites and what to do in case they are bitten.

Ticks are found in grassy, brushy, and/or wooded areas throughout the United States. Some of the ticks found in Wisconsin include American dog ticks, blacklegged (“deer”) ticks, and Lone Star ticks. Ticks attach themselves to clothing, skin, and hair as people and pets walk past, and can crawl to any part of the body. Be aware that ticks can be very small and hard to see – tick nymphs (young ticks) can be the size of a poppyseed!

Lyme disease is transmitted through bites from blacklegged ticks infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic bullseye skin rash called erythema migrans. If untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart, and nervous system.

Physical symptoms, the presence of the bullseye rash, and possibility of exposure to ticks are used to diagnose Lyme disease. There are also laboratory tests that can be helpful in diagnosis. Antibiotics are generally successful in treating Lyme disease.

The links below contain important information on steps to take to prevent tick bites.

If a tick is found crawling or embedded on a person or pet, remove it promptly. To dispose of a live tick, place it in alcohol, a sealed bag or container, or flush it down the toilet. Contact a health care provider for anyone with confirmed or suspected tick bites, or experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease.

The University of Wisconsin offers an online tick identification service. There is also a Tick App available for mobile devices where people can report tick activity, learn about bite prevention, and aid in assisting researchers.

For additional information about Lyme disease, ticks, and/or other tick-borne illnesses, please see the links below.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Entomology Department: Wisconsin Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases

Centers for Disease Control: Lyme Disease

Centers for Disease Control: Ticks

Video: How to Remove a Tick Safely