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Marshall County Reports Uptick in Lyme Disease

MOUNDSVILLE – The Marshall County Health Department is seeing a recent increase in reports of Lyme disease, a bloodborne illness commonly associated with ticks.

The department is advising caution for those spending time outdoors, as well as for pets, who are also vulnerable to the infection. To avoid infection, avoid wooded or brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter, walk in the center of trails, and use tick repellant. Products with 20 to 30% DEET or Permethrin are advised.

Upon returning from a trip outdoors, shower or bathe as soon as possible to more quickly spot and remove ticks on the body.

Use a mirror to examine the body for ticks in hard-to-reach or out-of-sight areas, especially hair. Examine clothes, gear and pets for ticks, and tumble dry clothes at high heat for an hour to kill any remaining.

Lyme disease initially appears as a “bull’s eye” shaped rash and may accompany fatigue, dizziness, muscle or joint ache, and swelling of lymph nodes.

Later symptoms include severe headaches, Bell’s palsy, irregular heartbeat, nerve and shooting pains, and inflammation of the brain and spine.

“While we can’t yet speculate about the reason for this increase, these new numbers emphasize the importance of preventing tick bites,” county heath Administrator Tom Cook said. “Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases are on the rise, so we need to proactively protect ourselves.”

Cook said the number of reported cases of Lyme disease in the county had risen to 36 for July, up from 13 in June.

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