Confirmed case of Lyme disease in Madison County

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(Posted Aug. 8, 2019)

Madison County Public Health has confirmed a case of Lyme disease in a Madison County resident.

Lyme disease is a bacterial disease transmitted to people from the bite of an infected deer tick. Symptoms can include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, muscle aches, fatigue or a rash. While not always present, a “bullseye” shaped rash is often seen at the site of the tick bite. Lyme disease is not transmitted from one person to another by coughing, sneezing or casual contact like shaking hands.

According to Health Commissioner Chris Cook, cases of Lyme disease have been increasing over the last six years all across Ohio; however, cases in Madison County are somewhat uncommon.

“Over the last decade, we’ve had a total of 10 suspected cases of Lyme disease. This is only our second confirmed case in that time period,” Cook said.

Even though local cases have been infrequent, Cook said he is concerned about the trends across the area.

“When you look at all the data, it’s easy to see that all diseases spread by ticks are increasing in central Ohio,” he said.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is another common disease spread by the American dog tick.

“We can do a lot ourselves to help prevent these tick-related diseases,” Cook said. “There are some simple precautions we can take to avoid tick bites when working or playing in wooded areas or places where there is tall grass or brush. Always check yourself, your kids and your pets for ticks when you are done outside.”

Some common and easy ways to avoid ticks are:

  • Walk in the middle of trails. Avoid tall grass and brush if you are in shorts.
  • Use approved repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol (PMD). Repellents that claim to be all-natural or made of essential oils, or devices that you wear, have not been proven to be effective.
  • Treat clothing and gear, such as pants, boots, socks and tents, with a product containing permethrin, or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
  • Wear long pants, long sleeves and long socks. Tuck pant legs into socks.
  • Wear light colors to make it easier to see ticks.

If you find a tick attached to the body, here are some tips for safely removing it:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  • Pull it away from your skin with steady, even pressure.
  • Do not twist or jerk the tick, which can cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with tweezers. If you are unable to do this easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  • Do not use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish or any other “folk” remedies to remove a tick as these methods do not work.
  • Dispose of the tick in a sealed bag and be careful not to crush it with your fingers.
  • If you have flu-like symptoms after finding a tick attached to your skin, see a doctor immediately.

For more information about Lyme disease or ticks, contact Madison County Public Health at (740) 852-3065 or info@madisonpublichealth.org.

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