Surge in summer ticks could spike cases of Lyme disease in Northeast Ohio

Posted at 6:45 AM, Mar 16, 2017

You may have seen it on social media, a story circulating on Facebook about Lyme disease. Experts say the disease will surge this summer throughout Ohio.

There’s been a steady uptick in confirmed Lyme disease cases over the last several years, but this season could be the worst yet.

It would be common for Cuyahoga County to have roughly 26 cases over a five year period, according to officials in the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. But in 2016 alone, there were 44. It has experts cautioning everyone, we all need to be on the lookout this summer because Lyme disease can be devastating.

For instance, Beth Robbins, suffered with symptoms of Lyme disease for 15 years before it was mostly eradicated from her body. She experienced arthritis, fatigue, head, joint, and muscle aches, she got blisters and bruises and initially, it was a struggle for many doctors to diagnose her.

“Till this point in my life, I didn’t really go to doctors, I mean if I was really sick, but I didn’t go to the doctor if my finger swelled up,” she said.

Her symptoms wound up being a severe case of Lyme and after years of IV antibiotics and thousands of dollars, Robbins is almost back to normal.

Experts say if you’re out and about when the weather is warmer, be sure to wear high socks, pants, and boots, and avoid tall grass and piled of leaves where ticks are known to congregate.

The Deer tick, which carries Lyme, has been moving west from the northeast for decades, traveling by piggybacking on other animals. Experts say the deer tick population in northeast Ohio, will continue to rise.

Initial symptoms of Lyme disease include a bulls-eye type rash at the site of the bite, fatigue, chills, fever, and muscle aches. You should seek medical attention if you think you’ve been bitten by a tick.