On Friday, the Tuscarawas County Health Department released a map showing what counties have the highest prevalence of Lyme disease cases across the state and where cases have been confirmed this year.
The map shows cases have been reported in Summit, Geauga, Wayne, Holmes, Stark, Tuscarawas and Carroll counties this year in Northeast Ohio. Additional cases have been reported in Southeast and Southern Ohio.
How does Lyme disease spread?
According to the Ohio Department of Health, Lyme disease is spread more commonly through tick bites from immature ticks known as nymphs. Adult ticks can also spread the bacteria that causes the disease but due to their larger size, they are easier to spot and remove before spreading the disease.
Cases have been increasing in some areas.
"Lyme disease cases are increasing in Ohio as the range of blacklegged tick populations continues to expand in the state and encounters with this tick occur more frequently, particularly in the forest habitats preferred by this tick," the ODH said on its website.
Reports of Lyme disease used to be more uncommon in Ohio but have grown substantially over the past several years, with confirmed cases of Lyme disease going from about 67 cases in 2012 to 582 cases in 2021.
In Tuscarawas County, communicable disease nurse Chelsea Martin told News 5 in March their number of suspected, probable and confirmed Lyme disease cases doubled from 64 cases in 2020 to 125 cases in 2021 and that Tuscarawas County Public Health officials still believe that number is being under-reported.
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There is treatment available for Lyme disease and anyone who feels ill after being bit by a tick should seek medical help.
Bit by a tick? Here are the symptoms to look out for
Symptoms of Lyme disease include rashes, headaches, chills, muscle pain, joint pain and fatigue. Specifically, a "bull's eye" rash called erythema migrans is a telltale symptom of Lyme disease, the ODH said. The rash looks like a red circle that slowly expands out from the site of the tick bite.
To learn more about Lyme disease from the Ohio Department of Health, CLICK HERE.
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