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Outdoors enthusiasts need to be aware of black legged tick

| November 11, 2013

COSHOCTON – Coshocton County Health is advising hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts in the county of an increased health threat and to take precaution to protect themselves and their pets. Flourishing populations of Black Legged Ticks (Deer Ticks) have been reported throughout the county during recent weeks. These small ticks can transmit Lyme disease and were once rarely found in Ohio.

The Black Legged adult ticks are actively looking for hosts such as people, pets or deer not only this fall, but on warm winter days and in the springtime. This is very different behavior from our common American dog tick which is not active in cold weather.

Everyone, especially hunters, should be aware of this new threat and take precautions to prevent tick attachment. Outer clothing should be sprayed with a permethrin-based repellent according to label directions the day before hunting and allowed to air dry. Pants should be tucked into socks and shirts into pants to keep hungry ticks on the outside of clothing. These small ticks will be difficult to spot on camouflage clothing. All clothing should be carefully inspected for small dark crawling ticks before entering vehicles and going indoors. Once inside, the hunter should thoroughly check for small attached ticks.

Remove attached ticks as soon as they are discovered to lessen the chance of contracting Lyme disease. If you find ticks on yourself, your hunting dogs, pets or your harvested deer, pull them off with thumb and forefinger while wearing protective latex or rubber gloves or use tweezers.

The first sign of Lyme disease infection is usually a large circular rash that appears three to 30 days after attachment and lasts for days or weeks. This rash may be followed by fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches and swollen lymph nodes. Seek medical attention immediately if any combination of symptoms occurs and mention the possibility of Lyme disease. Antibiotics are very effective when the disease is detected early.

Ticks are no longer being tested; however, you may contact the Coshocton County Health Department at 622-1426 for information.

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