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  • Kris Sundberg

Lyme Prevention: Tick Checks are Vital

Check for ticks frequently while in tick habitat and for 1-2 days after potential exposure. Promptly remove and save attached ticks in a re-sealable container so your doctor can examine them. Pets that go outdoors can bring ticks indoors; check them for ticks and use appropriate, veterinarian-approved tick products.

The risk of contracting Lyme disease depends on how long the tick was attached and how likely it is to be infected. Few infected ticks transmit Lyme in less than 24 hours. At 48 hours, roughly 15% will transmit; at 60 hours, 50% pass on the infection and when infected ticks feed until full, 94% will transmit Lyme disease. In many high-risk areas, half of the deer ticks are infected with Lyme.

Deer ticks may be infected with other diseases and these infections, often called co-infections, are also transmitted through bites. Anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan disease are known co-infections; bartonellosis may also be transmitted by ticks. Transmission times for Babesia and Bartonella are unknown; anaplasmosis is transmitted more rapidly than Lyme disease (in less than 24 hours).

Lyme Prevention: Antibiotic Treatment of Deer Tick Bites

Certain antibiotics may reduce the risk of Lyme disease if taken within 2 days of a bite. Contact your doctor immediately after a bite to discuss this strategy. Basing treatment decisions on blood tests done shortly after a bite is a bad idea because the results are unreliable. Antibiotic approaches are changing; ask your doctor.

Source: Center for Disease Control

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