Avoiding Lyme Disease

The Lyme disease-infection rate of ticks in Tompkins County is among the highest in the state, with as many 30 percent of deer ticks in the area carrying the disease, according to Yung-Fu Chang, director of the infectious disease research program at Cornell. 

The following information taken from the Centers for Disease Control's  pages on Lyme Disease: Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful in the later stages of disease. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, landscaping, and integrated pest management. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tick-borne diseases as well.

Additional Resources

It's Spring–Time to Prevent Lyme Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Describes how to prevent tick bites, checking yourself for ticks, how to remove a tick, symptoms of Lyme Disease, reducing ticks in your yard and on your animals.  

Learn About Lyme Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Covers prevention, transmission, symptoms, diagnoses, treatment, statistics, resources, and contacts.  The site includes information on How to Correctly Remove a Tick, as well as a link to The TIck Management Handbook (8800 kb, PDF) an 84-page guide for homeowners, pest control operators, and public health officials for the prevention of tick-associated disease, compiled by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

Frequently Asked Questions about Deer Ticks and Lyme Disease , Tompkins County Health Department.  Includes information on deer ticks and the prevalence of Lyme Disease in Tompkins County, free tick identification services, information on avoiding and removing ticks, and the NYS DOH Fact Sheet on Lyme Disease.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Factsheet: "Deer Tick: Detection and Management." (5 pages, 480kb PDF). Prepared by: Carolyn Klass, Sr. Extension Associate; Department of Entomology, Cornell University (12/1993. Updated 12/2008 and 3/2010).

Insect Repellents: Use and Effectiveness, Environmental Protection Agency, May 27, 2010. This EPA fact sheet includes a tool for identifying a skin-applied repellent that is appropriate for repelling ticks and/or mosquitos, instructions on how to apply, and length of effectiveness.

Workplace Safety for Lyme Disease, National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health,  January 15, 2010.  Discusses occupations at risk for contracting Lyme Disease, recommendations for employers, and recommendations for workers.

comparative sizes of deer ticks throughout their life cycle

Photos: Top left banner tick photo by Scott Bauer; right photo from NOAA.  Photo of rash from CDC/ James Gathany.  Used courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.





Last Updated: August 9, 2013

Last updated: August 9th 2013 - 10:58am