SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – The Clark County Combined Health District (CCCHD) confirmed Thursday five positive cases of Lyme disease in Clark County residents. Of those, four cases contracted the disease from a tick bite in Clark County.
Health officials said Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick. In Ohio, Lyme disease usually occurs between early spring and late fall, when ticks are most active. In most cases, ticks must be attached for 24 hours or more to allow for the transmission of the disease. The illness often starts as a circular red rash around or near the tick bite. If untreated, the disease can spread to other parts of the body within a few days to weeks. Symptoms include rash, fever, headache, fatigue and muscle and joint aches. Seek medical attention if you have a confirmed tick bite and experience any of the above symptoms.
Health officials said Lyme disease cases are increasing across the state and Clark County as the number of blacklegged tick populations continues to rise and encounters with this tick happen more often. There have only been two confirmed cases of Lyme disease recorded in Clark County in the previous three years.
“We know with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, residents are looking for outdoor activities where they can maintain social distancing. We encourage residents to spend time enjoying biking and hiking trails and even their back yards. While it is great to find activities where you can socially distance, we want to remind people that additional precautions need be taken when spending time in these areas,” said Charles Patterson, Clark County Health Commissioner.
There is no vaccine to prevent Lyme disease. The best way to prevent tickborne illnesses is to protect yourself and your family from tick bites. CCCHD offered these tips:
- Avoid areas where ticks live (wooded and brushy areas, high grass)
- Use EPA-registered tick repellents such as DEET and Picaridin
- Check your whole body (and your family’s) for ticks
- Remove ticks as soon as possible
- Watch for symptoms after a confirmed tick bite