Oneida County sees huge rise in Lyme disease cases

Oneida County Health Officials are reporting a dramatic rise in Lyme disease cases this summer.

The health department has confirmed that there have been 56 cases of the tick-born disease to hit the county, with more that 30 cases reported in July alone.

â??Weâ??re definitely seeing a sharp increase in the number of confirmed cases of Lyme disease in 2013,â?? Phyllis Ellis, Director of the Oneida County Health Department said. She added, â??Last year only saw a total of fourteen cases of the tick-borne illness throughout the County.â??

Lyme disease is transmitted by the saliva of the deer tick, which can be found in many places around Central New York.

Ticks will perch on grass or low hanging vegetation, usually 18-24 inches above the ground. They will try to attach themselves to a host and insert a small piercing element into the skin, ingesting blood.

Symptoms of Lyme disease can resemble several other diseases, often leading to mis-diagnosis. Lyme disease symptoms can resemble symptoms from fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Experts say the most recognizable sign is a bulls-eye shaped rash that often develops at the bite location.

Early stage of the disease is marked by chills, fever, headache, stiff neck, muscle and joint pain and swollen glands. If unrecognized or untreated in the early stages, more severe symptoms may occur affecting the skin, nervous system, heart and/or joints of an individual. Lyme disease may affect people of any age.

â??Most tick bites do not result in the transmission of infection; and in the case of Lyme disease only 2-3% of those bitten by a Deer Tick develop the disease,â?? Ellis said. â??However, if you have been bitten by a tick and develop a number of these symptoms, consult your primary healthcare provider.â??

Avoiding contact with ticks is the easiest way to avoid infection. Experts recommend using bug repellent that contains at least 20% or more DEET on exposed skin, and wearing long sleeves and pants while outside.

Bathing as soon as you come in from outdoors is a good way to wash any ticks off of your skin. Experts also recommend keeping a close eye on kids, paying special attention to under the arms, in and around the ears, between the legs, behind the knees and in the abdominal area.

If you find a tick, remove it by grasping it with tweezers as close to the head parts as possible and pulling it straight out with a single motion. Be careful not to detach the body from the head and mouth.

Tick scan be carried on clothing and pets, and later get onto humans. To kill any remaining ticks, experts recommend tumble drying clothes on high heat for one hour. You should check your outdoor pets for ticks. Dogs can catch Lyme disease, which shows up as a fever, joint pain or lameness.

For more information on Lyme disease, visit

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