LANSING– The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is encouraging Michigan residents to protect themselves from ticks as the warm weather approaches. Tick-borne diseases, particularly Lyme disease, are expanding across the state.
Although ticks can spread multiple illnesses, Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne disease in Michigan. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted by the blacklegged/deer tick.
The blacklegged tick is well-established in Michigan’s western Upper and Lower Peninsulas. However, it is expanding into new areas across the Lower Peninsula. In 2017, there were more than 300 human cases of Lyme disease reported, and approximately two out of three cases reported exposure in Michigan. Lyme disease infected ticks have currently been identified in 34 of Michigan’s 83 counties. Information about Lyme disease risk by county is available atMichigan.gov/lyme.
“With the expansion of blacklegged ticks into new areas in Michigan, the best way to protect against Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive. “If you find a tick attached to your body, promptly remove it. Monitor your health, and if you experience fever, rash, muscle or joint aches or other symptoms, consult with your medical provider.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last week that diseases spread by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas tripled in the U.S. from 2004 to 2016. The report also concludes that Lyme disease is an increasing concern for Michigan. To read the full report, visit the CDC website.
People can protect themselves against Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases by following these tips:
Avoid tick-infested areas.
For more information about Lyme disease, visit Cdc.gov/lyme or Michigan.gov/lyme.