NH DHHS Issues Reminder about Disease Prevention Efforts for 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 once again and that people should take

precautions to prevent being bitten by ticks and potentially exposed to

Lyme disease or other illnesses. There were 1,301 cases of Lyme identified

in the State in 2011 and 1,460 in 2012, which is an increase but still less

than 2008, when 1,600 cases were reported. According to the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 24,364 cases in the United

States in 2011, 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 (ranked

3rd highest in 2011).

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 cannot afford to become complacent about the issue of tick-borne

diseases,” said DPHS Director of Public Health Dr. José Montero. “It is

very encouraging that the number of cases of Lyme disease has decreased

since 2008, but a high proportion of ticks in New Hampshire are infected so

we want everyone to consistently take the necessary precautions to protect

themselves and their families from becoming ill from this and other


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