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MDHHS Urges Michigan Residents To Take Precautions To Prevent Tick Bites

(CBS DETROIT) - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging Michiganders to take precautions to avoid tick bites while spending time outside this summer.

MDHHS officials say that tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease and anaplasmosis, are increasing across Michigan.

"Preventing tick bites is the best way to prevent tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease and anaplasmosis," said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, 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."

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in Michigan.

According to the MDHHS, in 2021 there were 878 confirmed and probable reported cases of Lyme disease, which is almost double the 451 cases that were reported in 2020.

In Michigan, anaplasmosis is the second most common tick-borne illness.

Anaplasmosis cases continue to rise, jumping from 17 cases in 2020 to 56 cases in 2021.

The largest increase in anaplasmosis cases occurred in Dickinson and Menominee in the Upper Peninsula and Manistee and Benzie in the Lower Peninsula.

Both of these diseases are transmitted by the blacklegged or deer tick, which is well established in both Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas.

Here are tips from the MDHHS to avoid ticks:

Avoid tick-infested areas:

  • As ticks live in grassy, brushy and wooded areas, walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush and leaf litter at trail edges.

Use Insect repellent:

  • Apply repellent containing DEET or Picaridin on exposed skin.
  • Treat clothes (especially pants, socks and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact or buy clothes that are pre-treated. Do not use permethrin directly on skin.

Perform daily tick checks:

  • Always check for ticks on yourself and your animals after being outdoors, even in your own yard.
  • To remove a tick, grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible with tweexers. With a steady motion, pull the tick's body away from the skin. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic.

Bathe or shower:

  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you. Wash clothing in hot water and dry on high heat to help kill ticks in clothing.

For more information on Lyme Disease and to submit photos of ticks for identification, residents can visit here.

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