FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- As summer weather creeps closer, so does tick season in Fairfield County and in all of Connecticut.
Local, state and federal officials all recently released reminders to the public to be on the lookout for ticks that may carry Lyme disease.
Connecticut had the fifth-highest reports of Lyme disease in the United States in 2011, the year the most recent study was conducted. More than 3,000 of probable and confirmed cases of Lyme disease were reported in Connecticut that year, with Fairfield County reporting the second-most cases in the state.
“The spring and summer months are especially important for awareness about Lyme disease since everyone is out planting and/or taking part in some kind of outdoor activities,” Greenwich Director of Health Caroline Calderone Baisley said in a statement. “By applying a few simple precautionary measures like checking for ticks on the body daily and using insect repellant, everyone can still enjoy the warm weather and decrease their chances of becoming infected.”
The Greenwich Department of Health conducted tests on 400 deer ticks last year with 20 percent of them testing positive for Lyme disease.
Lyme disease has been a public health issue in Connecticut since 1975, when it was first identified. It is the most commonly reported vector-borne disease (an illness caused by an infectious microbe that is transmitted to people by blood-sucking arthropods) in the U.S.
To prevent tick bites, the Connecticut Department of Public Health recommends the following:
- Avoid tall grass and over-grown, brushy areas.
- When hiking in wooded areas, stay in the middle of trails.
- Consider using insect repellent, according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Tuck pant leg into socks, wear long-sleeved shirts, and closed shoes.
- Wear light-colored clothing to see the ticks easier for removal.
- When returning indoors, shower using a wash cloth or puff to remove any unattached ticks.
- Examine yourself, children, and pets for ticks when returning indoors.
- Talk to your veterinarian to find out how to protect your pets from tick bites.
“When Lyme disease is misdiagnosed and goes untreated in children, it has a profound, devastating impact on a child’s well being,” Calderone Baisley said in the statement. “It is imperative to know the signs and symptoms of this disease. Other tick-borne diseases such as Babesia can also be possible since the pathogen agent, Babesia microti, often co-infects the same tick that carries the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. It is equally important to know what can be done to minimize your risk."
For more information on tick safety and symptoms of diseases that ticks carry, visit the Connecticut Department of Health website .
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