Tag: Lyme Disease

May 4, 2015

Lyme disease is the leading cause of vector-borne infectious illness in the U.S. with about 25,000 cases reported annually. The disease is also probably greatly underreported, so the true number of infected individuals may be much larger. Maryland is one of ten states with 90% of reported cases of Lyme disease. The other nine states are Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is carried primarily by deer ticks. The young ticks are often no larger than the head of a pin, which can make them nearly impossible to spot. The larger, flat bodied “dog ticks” do not transmit Lyme disease. If a deer tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours, your chance of getting Lyme disease is very small. If an attached tick is discovered, use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouthparts with tweezers. If you are unsuccessful in removing the tick, or if mouth parts remain in the skin, consult a physician. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, or soap and water. Avoid folklore remedies such as “pain