Lyme Disease

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					Tuck the shirttail into pants and pant cuffs into    Note the date of the bite, watch for symptoms
socks. Stay on paths and trails as much as           of Lyme disease and report them to your
possible. Use repellants to keep ticks away.         doctor. Don’t use home remedies to remove
Check the body and clothing for ticks at least       ticks. Once a tick has become firmly attached to
twice daily and remove all ticks immediately.        the skin, use of petroleum jelly, fingernail polish,
The sooner a tick is removed, the less chance        kerosene, or a hot match will not dislodge it.

there is for it to transmit disease. Remember that
it takes at least 24 hours of attachment for an
infected tick to transmit the Lyme disease
microbe.                                                           Need more information?

Around the home, tick problems usually result        Contact your local health department or the
from pets. Control ticks on pets by using a pest
collar and a suitable shampoo, dip, or dust.
Carefully follow label directions when using                      NC Department of
these products. Pets confined to the backyard                     Environment and Natural Resources
will not pick up as many ticks as those that roam.   Division of Environmental Health
                                                     Public Health Pest Management
Where possible, keep grass and brush trimmed
                                                     (919) 733- 6407
and remove or burn leaf litter. These are places
where ticks may rest and lay eggs.
                                 1. When
                                 removing ticks,                      NC Department of Health and
                                 use tweezers or                        Human Services
                                 tissue-covered                       Division of Public Health
                                 fingers. Fluids                      General Communicable Disease
                          å      from the tick                          Control Section
                                 could transmit                       (919)-733-3419

                                 2. Grab the tick
                                 close to the skin
                         ç       and slowly pull
                                 straight back.
                                                     State of North Carolina
                                 3. Do not twist     Department of Environment and Natural Resources
                                 the tick or the     Division of Environmental Health
                                                     Public Health Pest Management Section
                          é      mouthparts may
                                 be broken off in    Department of Health and Human Services
                                 the skin.           Division of Public Health
                                                     General Communicable Disease Control Branch

Treat the area with an antiseptic product and        The Department of Health and Human Services does not
                                                     discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex,
wash your hands when finished.                       religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of
                                                     services. (ERC 84) Rev. 8/99
Lyme disease is an illness spread by infected         from a different type of animal such as field mice        Stage II
ticks. It was first noticed as a problem during the   and deer.
                                                                                                            One to three months after the tick bite,
1970’s when parents in Lyme, Connecticut and
                                                      Not all ticks can transmit Lyme disease bacteria.     problems with the nervous or cardiac systems
nearby towns became alarmed by the large
                                                      The tick that is the most important carrier of Lyme   may develop. These symptoms include facial
number of children with arthritis. While ticks
                                                      disease is Ixodes scapularis, commonly called         paralysis, meningitis, nerve root inflammation,
were believed to carry the disease, it was not
                                                      the black-legged tick. In North Carolina and the      and partial heart block. Irritability, sleeplessness,
until 1982 that the microbe for Lyme disease
                                                      southeast, the black-legged tick does not seem        depression, loss of concentration, and weakness
was discovered.
                                                      to carry Lyme disease or bite people. It is still     have also been reported.
                                                      unclear which tick spreads Lyme disease in
         The Cause of Lyme Disease                                                                              Stage III
                                                      North Carolina.
                                                                                                            One month to two years after the tick bite,
Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a     Black-legged ticks are the size of a pin head
                                                                                                            arthritis of one or more large joints, such as
corkscrew-shaped bacterium called a                   before they feed and are so small that people
                                                                                                            knees and shoulders, may occur. Affected joints
spirochete.                                           may not know they’ve been bitten. Dogs, horses,
                                                                                                            are painful, swollen and red. Without treatment,
                                                      and cattle may also be affected by Lyme
                                                                                                            joint damage may become permanent.
        Where Lyme disease occurs                     disease, but the disease must be passed by ticks
                                                                                                            However, most cases of arthritis are not caused
                                                      to infect humans and cannot be caught directly
                                                                                                            by Lyme disease.
Lyme disease has been found in most states and        from animals.
many foreign countries. In the United States it is
now the most frequently reported disease                                                                             Diagnosis of Lyme disease
                                                              Symptoms of Lyme disease
carried by ticks. It is most common in the                                                                  A doctor’s diagnosis is based on symptoms,
northeast - Massachusetts, Connecticut, New           Lyme disease, like other tick-borne disease, is
                                                                                                            patient history, and the results of two blood
York, and New Jersey - where thousands of             most likely to occur in the warm weather
                                                                                                            tests. Early Lyme disease can be recognized by
cases may occur each summer. Cases also may           months. Because the bacteria can attack so many
                                                                                                            the presence of EM, but some people with
occur in Wisconsin and Minnesota. However,            parts of the body, Lyme disease has been
                                                                                                            Lyme disease may not have this rash. The blood
Lyme disease has not been as common in the            confused with other ailments. The symptoms
                                                                                                            test for Lyme disease may be negative during the
southern states. In North Carolina, less than 100     change with time and can last for years.
                                                                                                            early stage.
cases are found each year. Another disease
transmitted by ticks is Rocky Mountain Spotted
Fever. In 1997 and 1998, approximately equal          Lyme disease may appear in three stages:                       Treatment of Lyme disease
numbers of laboratory-confirmed cases of both             Stage 1                                           Antibiotics are used to treat Lyme disease. The
diseases were reported in North Carolina.                                                                   earlier Lyme disease is diagnosed, the easier it is
                                                      One to four weeks after the tick bite, a red
                                                      circular or oblong rash with a clear center called    to treat. Advanced stages seldom occur when
         Lyme disease transmission                                                                          the early illness is treated with appropriate
                                                      an erythema migrans (EM), often develops at or
                                                                                                            antibiotics. Oral antibiotics are effective in the
Lyme disease is a “zoonosis” - a disease that is      near the bite. The size of the rash increases and
                                                                                                            early stages. In the later stages, intravenous
normally found in animals but sometimes               may become more than 12 inches across. It is
                                                      not usually painful or itchy, but may be warm         antibiotics are sometimes used.
spreads to humans.
                                                      when touched. Other similar but smaller rashes
The carriers (or vectors) of Lyme disease are         may appear. The rash may last for two to three                 Prevention of Lyme disease
ticks. Ticks have four stages of growth - eggs,       weeks. Headache, fever, muscle aches, tiredness
larva, nymph, and adult. The larva hatches from                                                             Fortunately, North Carolina has not had a great
                                                      and other flu-like symptoms are also common at
the egg, takes a blood meal and becomes a                                                                   amount of Lyme disease. The best way to
                                                      this time. These early signs of Lyme disease may
nymph. It is usually the nymph which transmits                                                              prevent Lyme disease is to avoid tick bites.
                                                      disappear, but most people will have other
Lyme disease to humans. The adult female feeds                                                              When outdoors in tick-infected areas, wear long-
                                                      problems if not treated.
and produces eggs. Each stage may take blood                                                                sleeved shirts and long-legged pants. Light
                                                                                                            colored clothing allows easier tick detection.