Health officials: Deer tick showing up in region

First Posted: 5/9/2014

LIMA — The tick that transmits Lyme disease has shown up in Allen County, and Allen County Public Health officials have alerted physicians in the area.

County public health officials have one suspected case and believed they had a second but discovered that person lives in Putnam County.

Most of the reported cases of Lyme disease in Ohio are in Eastern Ohio, said health board President Dr. Wilfred Ellis. For years, Lyme disease was predominately found on the East Coast, but the disease has been migrating west into Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.

The principal transmitter of Lyme disease is the blacklegged tick, also know as the deer tick, which until recently was not known to be established in Ohio. The tick has now been found in 59 counties, and Lyme disease is present in at least 24 counties. State health officials said they expect these numbers to increase as the blacklegged tick continues to spread and becomes established in new areas.

The state reported 93 cases of Lyme disease in 2013, an increase over the average of 51 cases reported annually for the prior 10 years.

Tick-borne diseases typically occur during spring and summer, although blacklegged ticks are active and may transmit disease year-round in Ohio.

People with Lyme disease have a bulls-eye rash about half the time, Ellis said, and experience fever and malaise. They are treated with antibiotics.

If people find ticks, they can bring them to Allen County Public Health for identification. Most ticks that Ellis sees are dog ticks, which do not transmit Lyme disease.

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