CIRCLEVILLE — According to Pickaway County Public Health, it has been confirmed that one individual has contracted Lyme disease in Pickaway County. The health district published the announcement on its social media on Friday, June 19.
While Pickaway County Public Health confirmed the individual with Lyme disease is under the age of 10, it was also reported that an additional case is being investigated by the health district.
Along with the information reported, Pickaway County Public Health also gave a description on what to look out for and what the characteristics of Lyme disease are. There are also resources locals can access by visiting the Centers for Disease Control official website.
From the report published on June 19, Pickaway County Public Health stated that Lyme disease is caused by a tick bite. It is also described as an infection with a pathogen called Borrelia burgdorfei. The pathogen is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected black-legged tick.
According to the local county health district, cases of Lyme disease have been rising across the state as the range of black-legged tick populations steadily increase. The insects are most commonly found in the eastern and southern area of Ohio.
According to the CDC, the life cycle of black-legged ticks, in general, lasts roughly two years. During that time, the insects go through four life stages. Life stages include egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph and adult life.
After the eggs hatch, the ticks have a blood meal for every stage of survival. Black-legged ticks can feed from mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. The ticks also require a new host at each stage of their life.
The CDC also states that black-legged ticks’ feeding cycle is a good process for transmitting disease. One of the ways the ticks transmit is by secreting small amounts of saliva, combined with anesthetic properties, so that an animal or person cannot feel that the tick has attached itself to them. If the tick is in a hard to reach area, it could go unnoticed for some time.
Pickaway County Public Health also provided recommendations in order to prevent illness from tick bites. One of the first things recommended was using insect repellent when traversing Ohio’s natural landscapes.
Another recommendation the district provided was removing the tick immediately by pinching the head of tick using tweezers or other similar objects.
Applying pesticides, as well as reducing the ability for ticks to have a habitat around your home, can also limit an individual’s exposure to tick-borne illnesses. The public health organization recommends that locals can also use tick collars or treatments on animals that are frequently inside and outside.
Community members can also wear light-colored clothing when outdoors or hiking to assist in finding ticks attached to clothing. Wearing hats and long socks in heavily-wooded areas or high grass is also a good idea.
As to why these recommendations are being shared at this moment, the health district stated reports of the tick-borne illness, at one point, used to be uncommon in Ohio. In the early 1990s, the Ohio Department of Health reported one to two dozen cases for Ohio’s residents.
Since that time, the number of recorded cases has increased “substantially,” according to Pickaway County Public Health. It is now a common place to see over 100 confirmed cases in the state each year.
Lyme disease can be a somewhat of a life-changing illness, which can have long term effects on the human body. Symptoms in the early stages can begin between three to 30 days after the initial tick bite.
Symptoms can include bullseye rash, headache, fever, chills, muscle and/or joint pain along with fatigue. Late symptoms can become severe in headaches, neck stiffness, facial palsy, arthritis/joint pain and swelling, heart palpitations, brain inflammation and nerve pain.
More information regarding Lyme disease and its effects can be viewed on the CDC’s official website at cdc.gov.
If locals have questions or concerns regarding the tick-borne illness can contact Pickaway County Public Health at 740-477-9667 ext. 239 to speak with the infectious disease nurse.