Ontario County warns of rise in Lyme disease cases

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ONTARIO, N.Y. (WHEC) — Ontario County health officials say cases of Lyme disease continue to rise. Especially as more and more people are out, and about venturing into places where ticks are abundant.

News10NBC finds what you can do to protect yourself.

According to Ontario County’s Public Health website, Lyme disease is the most common tick-related illness in our region.

"Definitely when it’s hot like this, definitely ticks are very active," said Public Health Director Mary Beer.

She is alerting people in the county that the cases of Lyme disease are on the rise. Last year the county recorded 87 cases.

"This year we’ve got 110 as of last week. So that’s quite a jump in a short period of time," said Beer.

She says certain parts of the county have been registering more positive cases of Lyme disease compared to others, especially where people have been hiking or camping.

"Well we’re seeing it at the top near Wayne County where our border is, and then we’re also seeing it in bigger numbers in Naples, and Honeoye," said Beer.

Lyme disease is caused by a bite from black-legged ticks, better known as deer ticks. Symptoms of the disease include fever and chills, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes.

"If you know you had a tick, or if you had that telltale bull’s eye rash, get hold of your provider, or go to urgent care, and they will give you an antibiotic," said Beer.

She offers this tip on removing a tick that’s attached to your body.

"You need some tweezers, and you need to put the tweezers on a tick and gently pull it out. You want it, not the stinger left inside, and then you should dispose it into alcohol, rubbing alcohol," said Beer.

She also says Lyme disease is preventable.

"If they can check themselves when they come in from being outside. If when they go outside they tuck their pants into their socks, and you can also use Deet products that are able to deter the ticks as well," said Beer.

Most importantly Beer says you need to thoroughly check your pets for ticks. Vaccinations are also available for pet protection.