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
- Maine CDC has Lyme disease information available on our website at http://www.maine.gov/lyme
- Lyme disease data is available through the Maine Tracking Network at http://www.maine.gov/idepiunder – Epidemiology Information on the left hand side of the page.
- University of Maine Cooperative Extension Tick ID Lab submission instructions can be found at http://extension.umaine.edu/ipm/tickid/
- To continue getting Lyme updates throughout May please like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MaineCDC