Lyme Disease, together with other tick borne illnesses, has become one of the fastest growing infectious diseases in the United States. Cases have been reported in all 50 states with the greatest number being reported in New England. Lyme Disease and other tick-borne diseases are of particular concern for residents in the District.
The great majority of ticks can be found in the woods and area which extend about three yards adjacent to the woods. They are concentrated near stone walls, in flower beds, on ornamental shrubs, and in ground cover such as myrtle or pachysandra. You can minimize ticks on your property by keeping the grass cut short and planning a deer resistant yard.
Lyme disease was first discovered in Lyme, Connecticut in 1977. Reporting for this disease began in Connecticut in 1987. Since then, it has become the most commonly reported disease spread by insects in Connecticut with an average 2,147 cases reported annually to the Connecticut Department of Health.
It is a bacterial illness spread by the bite of an infected deer tick, and is most prevalent in children under 10 yrs old. These ticks first bite mice which are infected with Lyme Disease, then they bite people or animals passing the disease to them.
Symptoms typically begin with an expanding red rash around the area of the bite. Also, flu-like symptoms that include: muscle aches, fatigue, joint pain and fever. These symptoms generally appear 3-32 days after the bite. If you experience any of these symptoms you should see your physician as soon as possible.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A TICK!
The Chatham Health District accepts ticks that have been found on the bodies of citizens of our jurisdiction. You can bring or mail the tick to any of our offices and we will forward the tick for testing at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES).
Please note the following guidelines for tick submission:
- Remove tick with tweezers or forceps.
- Do not apply oils, soaps, alcohol, etc. to the tick to remove it. Also, please do NOT use tape to ‘hold’ the tick in place. Using these products may delay the testing process.
- After removal, clean skin area with antibiotic/antiseptic product.
- Place tick in a zip baggie.
- Complete the submission form and bring it in to any of our District offices for submission.
- Your tick will be tested at the CAES laboratory in New Haven, CT.
Results can take up to 4 weeks
- Your tick testing results will be sent to us here at CHD – the results will then be sent to you as soon as we receive them.
- If you submit a dog tick, it will be identified as such and will NOT be tested, as dog ticks do not transmit Lyme disease. You will be notified of this decision.
The Chatham Health District works with citizens, schools, and others in our area to reduce and prevent further cases of Lyme disease in our Health District.
Our program’s educational activities include:
- Speaking with community groups about tick borne Illnesses and personal protection measures.
- Information on deer-resistant garden landscaping techniques.
- Distributing Lyme disease information at local health fairs and public events.