Ticks

Ticks

The are over 20 known tick species in Michigan that can carry harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites . Ticks feed on wildlife, but people may be bitten when they work or play in areas where ticks live. Ticks can be found in grassy shorelines, wooded areas, or fields near wooded areas. Ticks are not usually found indoors, unless they are carried on the clothing of people or the body of a pet.

Livingston County is now designated as a county with known risk for Lyme disease. This means blacklegged (deer) ticks with Lyme bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) have been found and/or at least two human exposures occurred. Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria and is passed to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged tick. If you have been bit by a tick in the last 30 days and have a fever, headache, fatigue, rash, muscle or joint pain, or facial paralysis, see your doctor. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Peak transmission season for Lyme disease is April through September. For health related questions call 517.546.9850.

LCHD is working with MDHHS to conduct a tick surveillance project this summer. This effort will help identify tick species and if they carry Lyme disease. LCHD has the expertise to identify tick species that have attached to a human. For tick identification, remove the live tick as instructed under "Removing a Tick" (see below).

To submit a picture of a tick for identification, follow the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services "Submit a Pic" instructions

 Tick Information & Identification Submission Form

 Removing a Tick

Ticks attach to any part of the body, but prefer creases and areas with hair. Attached ticks should be removed immediately, before bacteria can move from the tick into the person

1. Use fine-tipped tweezers, grasp tick as close to the skin as possible.

2. Pull the tick straight up and out. Don't twist or jerk the tick. This can cause the mouth parts to break off and stay in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with tweezers if you can. If not, leave them alone and let your skin heal. 

3. After removing the tick, wash hands and bite area with soap and running water.

4. Apply antibacterial cream to the site of the bite. You may get a small bump or redness that goes away in 1-2 days, like a mosquito bite. This is not a sign of Lyme disease.

5. Place live tick in a sealed Ziploc bag and complete the tick identification form. Bring items to the LCHD - Environmental Health office located at 2300 E. Grand River, Howell, MI. 48843. For identification questions call 517.546.9858.

Note: Do not put hot matches, nail polish, or petroleum jelly on the tick to try to make it pull away from your skin.



Tick identification may take up to 48 hours. If it is determined to be a blacklegged tick and alive, the specimen will be sent to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Laboratory for Lyme disease testing. Results from Lyme disease testing will be shared with you from MDHHS and LCHD.

 Tick Prevention

  • Use repellant that contains 20 to 30 percent or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 according to label directions. Do not use repellants on children less than six months of age. 
  • Wear clothing that has been treated with permethrin.
  • Take a shower as soon as you can after coming indoors.
  • Look for ticks on your body, paying attention to skin, scalp, neck, under arms, and behind ears. 
  • Put clothes in dryer on high heat for 60 minutes to kill any remaining ticks.
  • Clear high grass, brush, and leaf litter around your home.
  • Keep playground equipment away from yard edges and trees.

 2019 Lyme Disease Map