Lyme disease cases in Ohio increase 33% over 2016

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSAZ) - The Ohio Department of Health is reporting Lyme disease cases in the state this year are up 33% from 2016.

The department says 241 cases of Lyme disease have been reported in 60 Ohio counties so far in 2017.

There were only 160 cases in 2016.

The increase in cases coincides with the increase of the Blacklegged Tick in Ohio.

Lyme disease is a bacterial disease transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected deer tick.

Symptoms can include a flu-like illness, muscle pain, and headache; a bull’s-eye shaped rash is often also seen at the site of the bite as well.

Ohio Department of Health Medical Director Dr. Clint Koenig says:

“Lyme disease is still very important to think about, even in cold weather. You still need to take precautions, like wearing bug repellent, to make sure you are protected while outside enjoying the fall season.”

Fall hunting season has begun and deer gun season begins on Nov. 27.

Here are some tips on how to avoid tick bites before and after you hunt:

• When possible, walk in the center of trails and paths to avoid brushing up against ticks.
• Apply bug repellent to everyone in your party, including pets.
• Tuck your pants into your boots or socks and tuck your shirt into your pants to prevent ticks from crawling inside clothing.
• Shower immediately after returning from the outdoors to remove unattached ticks.
• Check dogs for ticks after returning from tick habitats.
• Remove any attached tick immediately by grasping it with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, and pulling it straight out. Do not twist or jerk.

There are currently no vaccines to prevent tickborne diseases.

If detected at an early stage, Lyme disease can be treated successfully with appropriate antibiotic therapy.

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