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Health officials warn of increased risk of tick-borne disease

Western black-legged tick

As temperatures rise, there is an increased risk of tick-borne diseases.

Posted: May 14, 2021 12:50 PM
Updated: May 14, 2021 12:54 PM

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WFFT) — Indiana health officials are urging Hoosiers to protect themselves from tick bites while outdoors as warmer weather increases tick activity.

Indiana Department of Health entomologists have found the black-legged tick, which can carry pathogens that cause Lyme disease, babesiosis and other diseases, in all but three Indiana counties.

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Lyme disease bacteria have been detected in adult and immature black-legged ticks in many Indiana counties, especially in the northwest and west central parts of the state, where the largest numbers of human Lyme disease cases are reported.

In July 2020, a babesiosis case with strong evidence of local tick-borne transmission was detected in northern Indiana for the first time.

“We know that Hoosiers are eager to resume outdoor activities and attend seasonal events that were canceled last year,” said State Public Health Veterinarian Jennifer Brown, D.V.M., M.P.H. “All Hoosiers should take precautions against tick bites when enjoying the outdoors, no matter where they are.”

While Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in Indiana, Hoosiers are also at risk for other tick-borne diseases, such as ehrlichiosis, tularemia, Heartland virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and related diseases.

Residents of southern Indiana are at greater risk for ehrlichiosis, which is associated with the bite of the lone star tick.

Hoosiers can reduce their risk of tick bites by:

  • Wearing a long-sleeved shirt and light-colored pants, with the shirt tucked in at the waist and the pants tucked into socks, if they will be in grassy or wooded areas
  • Treating clothing and outdoor gear with 0.5% permethrin, which is an insect repellent specifically designed for this purpose (permethrin should NOT be used on bare skin)
  • Using EPA-registered insect repellents with active ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD) or 2-undecanone Treating their pets for ticks

Once indoors, people should thoroughly check for ticks on clothing, gear, pets and skin. Tumbling clothes in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes will kill ticks, and showering can help remove any unattached ticks.

“Tick checks are an essential part of preventing tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease,” Brown said. “Quickly finding and removing a tick can help prevent you from becoming sick.”

Ticks may be safely removed by using tweezers to grasp the tick close to the skin and then pulling outward with steady and even pressure.

After the tick is removed, the area should be washed thoroughly.

The tick should be discarded by submerging it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag or container, wrapping it tightly in tape or flushing it down the toilet.

Ticks should never be crushed with the fingernails.

Anyone who becomes ill after finding an attached tick should see a medical provider immediately and alert the provider to the exposure.

Tick-borne diseases can be treated with antibiotics, and prompt diagnosis can help prevent complications.

For more information about ticks and how to prevent the diseases they carry, see the state Department of Health’s website at http://www.in.gov/isdh/20491.htm.

A map showing the distribution of the black-legged tick is available at https://www.in.gov/isdh/28005.htm, and maps displaying tick infection rates are available at https://www.in.gov/isdh/28130.htm.

You also can visit the state Department of Health at health.in.gov for important health and safety information or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StateHealthIN.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 764448

Reported Deaths: 13965
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1049701803
Lake567981029
Allen42685698
St. Joseph37253568
Hamilton37131426
Elkhart29699470
Tippecanoe23347230
Vanderburgh23106404
Porter19538327
Johnson18755391
Hendricks18012321
Madison13463345
Clark13450198
Vigo12789255
LaPorte12533224
Monroe12494178
Delaware11100198
Howard10612237
Kosciusko9736123
Hancock8707149
Bartholomew8235157
Warrick8031157
Floyd7975181
Grant7337181
Wayne7222201
Boone7145105
Morgan6886142
Marshall6323116
Dubois6267118
Cass6083111
Dearborn598578
Noble595790
Henry5939111
Jackson514677
Shelby509097
Lawrence4901127
Gibson460696
Montgomery454492
Clinton453555
DeKalb451585
Harrison450576
Whitley414745
Huntington411781
Steuben409560
Miami404073
Jasper399455
Knox387091
Putnam383762
Wabash367383
Adams351656
Ripley350471
Jefferson340486
White338954
Daviess3084100
Wells302281
Greene292285
Decatur291493
Fayette285864
Posey280435
Scott278058
LaGrange276972
Clay273048
Washington252437
Randolph247083
Jennings238149
Spencer237531
Fountain233750
Starke229859
Owen221059
Sullivan219043
Fulton207645
Jay202832
Carroll196522
Orange190556
Perry189139
Vermillion179644
Rush177027
Franklin171635
Tipton171547
Parke153616
Pike141234
Blackford137832
Pulaski122948
Newton122436
Benton109215
Brown105743
Crawford105116
Martin92515
Warren87615
Switzerland8308
Union73510
Ohio58211
Unassigned0428

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1120922

Reported Deaths: 20467
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1300711493
Cuyahoga1169882259
Hamilton822191259
Montgomery533351059
Summit487911014
Lucas43688832
Butler39879614
Stark33752937
Lorain25937509
Warren24850312
Mahoning22663612
Lake21429396
Clermont20338260
Delaware19088138
Licking16820227
Trumbull16744491
Fairfield16735207
Medina15800276
Greene15468254
Clark14325308
Portage13391218
Wood13327201
Allen12026245
Richland11707213
Miami10976228
Wayne9238227
Columbiana9182236
Muskingum9114137
Pickaway8729123
Tuscarawas8706254
Marion8691140
Erie8109166
Ashtabula7264179
Hancock7039134
Ross7004165
Geauga6939153
Scioto6636108
Belmont6203179
Lawrence5905104
Union590049
Jefferson5718162
Huron5622122
Sandusky5467130
Darke5436130
Seneca5373128
Washington5352111
Athens526260
Auglaize506787
Mercer490285
Shelby480497
Knox4603112
Madison446966
Ashland441898
Defiance438099
Fulton435275
Putnam4349104
Crawford4103111
Brown408862
Preble3940107
Logan391479
Clinton387966
Ottawa374981
Highland364668
Williams355478
Champaign347560
Guernsey329554
Jackson321154
Perry298050
Morrow294543
Fayette287950
Hardin278865
Henry276967
Holmes2725102
Coshocton272461
Van Wert251465
Gallia248450
Adams247758
Pike244537
Wyandot235257
Hocking221763
Carroll200349
Paulding179342
Meigs150740
Noble137639
Monroe137445
Harrison115038
Morgan111524
Vinton87117
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
83° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 88°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
86° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 92°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
83° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 90°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
83° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 88°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
85° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 89°
Showers and storms are possible early Sunday morning, but we'll be dry by sunrise. Partly sunny skies and hot conditions are expected for the second half of the weekend.
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