OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Deer ticks, known carriers of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, are reported to be in Douglas County according to surveillance by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says typical symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash that forms in a bullseye pattern.
If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system.
Lyme disease is diagnosed based on relevant symptoms, physical findings like the rash and the possibility of tick exposure.
Deer ticks, also known as black-legged ticks, are roughly one eighth of an inch in length--roughly the size of a sesame seed.
The Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) offers the following advice to avoid tick bites:
· Avoiding tall grass and shrubs.
· Wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts in light colors.
· Wear shoes that cover your feet – sandals do not provide adequate protection.
· Tuck pant legs into your socks and shirts into pants.
· Apply an approved repellant – the same ones used for mosquitoes are fine.
Ticks thrive in humid conditions. If you find a tick, carefully remove it and attempt to save it in a small container that can be filled with rubbing alcohol and sealed. Take it to the Nebraska Cooperative Extension office or your doctor for further examination.
DCHD says if you think you've been exposed to ticks, one of the best things you can do is shower. Pets that may have been exposed should be bathed.
Lyme disease can typically be treated with a few weeks of antibiotics and most recover completly. Some, however, may be left with joint pain that can be treated with medication.
The deer tick can also carry the Powassan virus which can cause encephalitis. Humans with this virus have only been identified in the New England and mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S.
For more information, contact DCHD at 402-444-7481.