Tick Safety Information

INSPECT AND PROTECT

Spring is here, so it’s time to think about the outdoors and proper protection against ticks. Maine had more than

over 1,395 cases of Lyme disease reported in 2014, a number that continues to increase yearly. May is Lyme

Disease Awareness Month and we want to remind you the importance of daily tick checks and encourage the

“inspect and protect” prevention strategy.

Ticks are primarily active in warmer months. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is caused by a bite from

an infected deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). In Maine, Lyme disease is most common in adults 65 and over and

children between the ages of 5 and 15, but anyone can get the disease. Individuals who work or play outside are

more likely to be exposed to ticks. The most common and visible symptom of Lyme disease is a red bulls-eye

rash that grows and appears within 3-30 days of exposure. Other symptoms may include fevers, and joint or

Lyme disease is treatable and most individuals recover completely with a proper drugs. However, the easiest

way to avoid the disease is prevention, using “No Ticks 4 ME”:

1) Use caution in tick infested areas

3) Use an EPA approved repellant

4) Perform daily tick checks after any outdoor activity

A tick must be attached for a minimum of 24 hours before the infection can be passed on, further stressing the

need for prompt and proper tick removal. If you are bitten by a tick, or work in a known tick habitat, watch for

symptoms for up to 30 days, and call a healthcare provider if symptoms develop.

Deer ticks can transmit not only Lyme disease, but also two other tick-borne infections that are endemic in

Maine: anaplasmosis and babesiosis. Cases of both these diseases are on the rise in Maine, as cases of

anaplasmosis doubled for the second year in a row and cases of babesiosis increased from 2013. The majority of

tick-borne illnesses occur during the summer months when ticks and humans are active outdoors.

Remember that the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) is the only tick that can transmit Lyme disease, but there are

other species of ticks throughout the state. Tick identification references are available to order online at Maine

CDC’s website. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Tick ID Lab offers free identification services

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