MERCER COUNTY, WV (LOOTPRESS)– The Mercer County Health Department is warning residents of rising cases of Lyme disease.
Cases in Mercer County rose from five in June to 19 in July. Lyme disease is a type of infection found in ticks, mainly deer ticks. The disease spreads through animals or bites and stings from insects. It’s an infection that is commonly known for having a classic red bullseye bite on the skin (pictured below). A rash also can break out around the bitten area.
When detected in its early stages, doctors can treat it quickly. If not found, it can lead to meningitis and myelitis, which is inflammation of the spinal cord and in some rare cases, second or third degree heart defects. Symptoms to look out for are fever, headaches, joint swelling, or joint pain.
Bonnie Allen, Public Health Nurse with the Mercer County Health Department, wants the public to spot early detection.
“The key is prevention and early detection. Keep the grass cut and buy good quality insect repellant with DEET,” said Allen.
DEET is an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved chemical that deters biting insects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), spraying clothes and outdoor gear with products containing about %0.5 Permethrin to prevent the risk of ticks from sticking onto clothes.
Allen also mentions if there are ticks on clothing, don’t shake them! Put clothes in the washer machine with hot water and dry them on high heat for ten minutes. She also gives steps to remove a tick from the skin.
- Grab a pair of tweezers.
- Pinch the tick until it unlatches from the skin.
- If the head is still attached, gently scrape the remainder off.
- If the head does not come off, go to the hospital immediately.
If anyone has the signature red bullseye bite and/or feels any symptoms, go to the nearest hospital. For more information about Lyme disease, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.