Michigan in the summer is the perfect place for outdoor fun and adventure. It is also becoming a haven for ticks that cause Lyme disease. In fact, cases of Lyme disease are on the rise in Michigan.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease is caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks, sometimes referred to as deer ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans, often in the shape of a bullseye.
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.
Exposure to ticks is highest in the woods and in the edge area between lawns and woods; however, ticks can also be carried by animals onto lawns and gardens and into houses by pets. It is possible for someone to contract Lyme disease through a blood transfusion; however, there is no evidence that Lyme disease is transmitted from person-to-person through touching, kissing, or having intercourse with a person with Lyme disease. There are also no reports of Lyme disease transmission through breast milk.
Protect yourself from Lyme disease by decreasing your chances of being bitten by a tick through the following steps:
- Avoid tick-infested areas and walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter.
- Use insect repellent containing 20% concentration of DEET on clothes and exposed skin.
- Perform daily tick checks and remove attached ticks with tweezers.
- Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors.
- Tumble dry clothing in a hot dryer for 10 minutes to kill any ticks that are attached.
Tick Identification Card
If you believe you’ve been bitten by a tick, or have developed illness within a few weeks of a tick bite, see your health care provider right away. Contact DHD#10 for more information on infectious diseases in your area at 888-217-3904.
Michigan Emerging Disease Issues – Lyme Disease
Michigan Department of Natural Resources – Lyme Disease
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Lyme Disease
– Children and Lyme Disease
– Tick Bite Prevention in Michigan’s Outdoors
American Lyme Disease Foundation