PUBLIC HEALTH FACT SHEET
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial illness caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi.
How is it spread?
Lyme disease is spread through the bite of an infected tick. The tick attaches to a host animal (wild or domestic) such as a deer, field mouse, or bird that may be infected. Once the tick releases itself carrying the bacteria, it attaches to a new host which could be a human. The tick must be attached more than 24 hours to transfer the bacteria to it’s new host.
How is it treated?
If you have been bitten by a tick and develop symptoms, see your doctor immediately. Antibiotics can be given to kill the bacteria and may help prevent complications.
How can we prevent Lyme disease?
- Avoid areas that are tick infested, moist, brushy, wooded or overgrown with low lying vegetation.
- Wear light colored clothing that covers arms and legs so that ticks can be more easily seen and removed. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots.
- Apply insect repellant containing DEET to clothing and exposed skin or permethrin to clothing, following manufacturer’s recommendations.
- When working or playing in wooded or grassy areas, check your body and clothing frequently for ticks.
- When a tick is found, remove it by firmly gripping the body close to the skin with a pair of tweezers and pull straight out. Cleanse the area with soap and water.
- After removal, keep tick in a sealed container with a moist paper towel and contact the health department for assistance regarding tick identification.
SYMPTOMS OF LYME DISEASE
- "Bulls eye" rash
- Muscle and joint aches