The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) reminds Delawareans that simple precautions reduce a person’s chances of getting tick-borne infections this summer.
Lyme disease is the most common disease spread by ticks in Delaware. Other tick-borne diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Ehrlichiosis are diagnosed much less frequently in Delaware but can cause severe illness and often require hospitalization.
It usually takes 24-36 hours of attachment before a disease is transmitted from a tick to a person. Individuals who get tick-borne diseases may be treated with antibiotics. Early diagnosis and intervention are key to appropriate treatment and improved health outcomes. People who have been bitten by a tick and do not have symptoms do not require treatment, but they should monitor their health closely and contact a physician if they feel unwell or have any of the symptoms detailed below. Diagnosis of tick-borne disease is based on an individual’s symptoms and the results of blood testing.
DPH reminds residents to take the following protective measures to avoid tick bites when gardening, camping, hiking, and playing outdoors:
Lyme disease is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected ticks (in Delaware, usually the deer tick). Ticks are active all year, but most cases of Lyme disease occur during the spring and summer months when humans enjoy outdoor activities. In 2011, Delaware had 873 confirmed cases compared to 656 cases in 2010. Common symptoms include a "bull’s-eye" rash (seen in approximately half of Lyme disease cases), fever, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint aches. Late manifestations such as chronic joint, heart and neurological problems may occur.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) and Ehrlichiosis are diagnosed less frequently in Delaware. In 2011, Delaware had 20 cases of RMSF compared to 22 in 2010. Ehrlichiosis cases totaled 35 in 2010 compared to 17 in 2011. Common symptoms of these diseases include fever, fatigue, headache, rash, muscle aches, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
**The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that repellents with DEET should not be used on infants less than 2 months old.
Delaware Division of Public Health, Bureau of Epidemiology: 888-295-5156
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