Thursday, June 9, 2016

‘Tis the Season … for Ticks!


Lyme disease is the most frequently diagnosed tickborne illness in the US.  In the Philadelphia area, it’s estimated that almost 40% of ticks are positive for Lyme disease, and statewide the rate is ~47%.  But Lyme is not the only infection carried by ticks.  Cases of babesiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) are also reported every year.  In fact, in Philadelphia over 10% of ticks harbor more than one pathogen though this rate varies across the country.  This means that people may need to be tested for multiple illnesses if tickborne transmission is suspected.

What can you do to protect yourself?
• Avoid ticks by walking in the center of trails and staying away from wooded or brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
• Wear insect repellent that contains DEET (≥20%) or an EPA-approved natural repellent and reapply as directed. Wearing clothing and gear that has been treated with permethrin will also help repel ticks.

• Conduct a full-body tick check and shower within two hours of returning indoors.                                         Remove attached ticks with fine-tipped tweezers.
• Place clothes in a dryer on high heat for 5-10 minutes to kill ticks.
• Check pets for ticks daily, especially after spending time outdoors, and use tick repellent products.


                                                                                                                              Judith Wolf, MD
                                                                                                                              Associate Director, WHEP

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