Contact: Scott Turske
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2022
Macomb County Health Department Cautions Residents on the Presence of Ticks and Lyme disease
As summer draws to a close, the Macomb County Health Department would like to remind residents that ticks remain active in Macomb County and across the state of Michigan, and that there are steps and actions that can be taken to prevent illnesses spread by ticks, such as Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria and is spread through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks (also known as deer ticks). The presence of the blacklegged tick in Michigan is growing. In fact, based on 2021 data, 77 of Michigan’s 83 counties have a known risk for Lyme disease, or potential risk for Lyme disease. Macomb County is considered to have a known risk for Lyme disease due to historical surveillance data that shows the presence of Blacklegged ticks that have tested positive with Lyme bacteria.
Ticks can attach to any part of the human body but are often found in hard-to-see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp. In most cases, the tick must be attached for 36-48 hours or more before Lyme disease can be transmitted. Because of this, doing a full-body check to find and remove ticks after spending time outdoors is important. Ticks should be removed by grasping the tick with fine-tipped tweezers as close to the skin as possible and pulling upward with steady, even pressure.
If someone is bitten by a tick that is suspected or confirmed to be a blacklegged tick, they should call their healthcare provider. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, and fatigue. Many people, but not all, will get a characteristic “bull’s-eye” skin rash. If untreated, infections can become serious. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics. Here are some suggestions to help avoid ticks:
Before You Go Outdoors:
- Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and tuck pants into socks. Wear boots or shoes instead of sandals.
- Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin or you can buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. To help find the repellent that is right for you, the EPA has a search tool that can be found here https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you
After You Come Indoors:
- Check your clothing for ticks. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors.
- Examine gear and pets. Ticks can get into the home on coats, clothing, pets, and daypacks.
- Check your body and your child’s body for ticks after being outdoors: under the arms, in and around the hair and ears, inside the belly button, the waist and back, back of the knees and between the legs and pelvic area.
- Showering within two hours of coming indoors may help wash off unattached ticks; it is also a good opportunity to do a tick check.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a number of tick-related resources and suggestions to prevent tick bites that can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/prev/index.html
The Macomb County Health Department is actively monitoring the population of ticks in the county to identify any changes or migration. For more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on ticks and Lyme disease, visit https://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/safety-injury-prev/environmental-health/topics/mitracking/ticks.
43525 Elizabeth Road, Mount Clemens, MI, 48043
For media inquiries only, please contact Tom Lehrer at 586-463-3523