Lyme disease is an illness caused by a bacteria. Black-legged ticks spread the bacteria to humans in the northeastern and north-central United States.
Ticks feed by inserting their mouthparts into the skin of a host, and slowly taking in blood. This feeding process can take from 3-7 days. Prompt removal of ticks, especially within 48 hours, can prevent the spread of the disease.
Lyme disease is generally not life-threatening. It is usually a mild illness with flu-like symptoms (fever, headache, fatigue) and a bull's-eye rash. However, if left untreated, serious problems involving the heart, joints and nervous system may develop in some people.
You can reduce your chance of exposure to lyme disease by using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, landscaping, and using integrated pest management. Ticks that spread lyme disease can also spread other diseases.
If you have an engorged black-legged tick that you would like identified and tested for lyme disease, you can bring it to our office. We will submit the tick to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services laboratory. One of our public health nurses will contact you with the results.
How to Remove a Tick
Ticks and Your Health (MDHHS)
Michigan Emerging Disease Issues (MDHHS)
For more information, please call (231) 724-1287.