NH DHHS Issues Reminder about Disease Prevention Efforts for Upcoming Tick Season in NH

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is reminding residents

that tick season is upon us again and people should take precautions to

prevent being bitten and potentially exposed to Lyme disease or other

illnesses. There were 1,342 cases of Lyme identified in the State in 2010

and 1,300 in 2011, which is down from the high of almost 1,600 in 2008.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there

were 22,561 cases in the United States in 2010, which is down from the high

in 2009 of almost 30,000, and New Hampshire has one of the highest

incidence rates in the country.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdoferi and is

transmitted to people by the bite of an infected black-legged tick (also

known as the deer tick). The greatest risk for Lyme is between the months

of May and August when the black-legged tick is in the juvenile stage; it’s

the size of a poppy seed and very difficult to detect, so individuals may

be unaware they have been bitten. Ticks that transmit Lyme can also

transmit other diseases, such as anaplasmosis and babesiosis. Although not

as common as Lyme, both diseases can also cause illness.

“We understand people are anxious to get outside and enjoy the spring

weather after the long winter,” said DPHS Director of Public Health Dr.

José Montero. “While we encourage outdoor activity, we want everyone to

consistently take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their

families from becoming ill from this disease.”

Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue, and often a skin

rash that is round and/or looks like a bullseye. Lyme disease is treatable

with antibiotics, but if left untreated can lead to severe headaches and

neck pain caused by meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord), pain and

swelling in the large joints, shooting pains that may interfere with sleep,

and heart palpitations and dizziness.

DHHS recommends taking the following precautions to prevent tick bites:

Avoid tick-infested areas such as overgrown grass, brush, and leaf


Use insect repellent labeled as effective against ticks

Wear protective clothing (long pants and long sleeves to keep ticks

off skin)

Do tick checks on yourself and family members after being outdoors

Reduce ticks around your home by keeping grass short and removing

leaf litter

Speak with your healthcare provider if you are bitten by a tick or if

you notice a large round rash anywhere on you

For more information about Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases visit

the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/lyme/index.htm  or the Centers

for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at