Lyme Disease Is On The Rise

By KBJR News 1

Lyme Disease Is On The Rise

August 6, 2010 Updated May 16, 2008 at 1:11 PM CDT

Wisconsin health officials are reporting nearly two-thousand cases of Lyme disease a year and Minnesota reports more than 900 cases.

With those statistics in mind May has been deemed Lyme Disease Awareness month.

"Lyme disease is a tick born infection caused by a form of bacteria transmitted when the tick bites," says Duluth Clinic Infectious Disease Chair Dr. Kevin Stephan.

Some early symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, and most commonly a rash.

"Most people will get a rash. It's a red rash one that looks like a bulls-eye. That's what we're all taught to look for," says Dr. Stephan.

It's the tiny deer tick that carries Lyme Disease. To protect yourself it's a good idea to wear light colored clothing, long sleeves and pants, and bug repellent with 25 to 30 percent deet.

You should also do a thorough check of your body when you go back indoors.

"You want to check the hairline and scalp and your armpits and areas where it might be difficult to see as well," says Dr. Stephan.

Detecting the ticks can be rather tricky since they are so small.

"Most of the transmitting of Lyme disease occurs in the young form of the tick, which is actually the size of a poppy seed," says Dr. Stephan.

If you do find a tick on your body, it's best to remove it with a pair of tweezers with a sharp point and gently pull it out.

"You don't want to squeeze it or you don't want to irritate it by burning it or putting petroleum jelly on it because you may cause an infection if you do that," says Dr. Stephan.

The disease can be treated with antibiotics, but it is most easily treated when detected early.

If Lyme Disease is not treated early it can cause chronic fatigue, memory problems, and joint pains.