WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. – It’s prime tick season and doctors encourage routine checks after time spent outdoors.
According to the CDC, more than 300,000 people were diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2013 and health officials warn that number has not declined since.
According to the executive director of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, Linda Giampa, Lyme disease is easy to miss and under researched.
“We’re only three and a half years old and over the last three years we’ve become the national top organization and largest private funder of Lyme research, but we’ve only done a little under lei12.06 million in Lyme research,” Giampa said.
Giampa said the most important mission of the foundation is to fund the research to accurately diagnose Lyme disease. They also look for new ways to treat and prevent it from spreading.
Doctors say its prime tick season from April till September and warn if your playing outdoors especially in heavily wooded areas check behind your neck, ears and arms for ticks. Especially if you notice their black legged ticks, because they are carriers for Lyme disease.
Spokesperson for Washington County Health Department, Rod MacRae, said Lyme disease is very prevalent in our area and the entire northeast.
According to the Bay Area Lyme Foundation website, ticks that carry Lyme disease can be found in 49 states and 65 countries during the warmer months, excluding California, Texas, and Florida where it is tick season year around.
For the best prevention, MacRae said “tuck your shirt into your pants if possible and if you’re going to be really outside in the brush tuck your pants into socks, so that the ticks have less access to your body.”
MacRae added that using an approved insect repellent with DEET helps, too.
Infectious Disease Specialist with Meritus Health, Mohammed Bilgrami, said its not a life threatening disease.
“People can get flu like symptoms, they get headaches, they’re in the bed for a few days, but it’s self-limiting and dissolves on its on too,” Bilgrami said. “It takes slightly longer compared to when someone takes antibiotics.”
According to a CDC report in 2013, there were 71 reported cases of Lyme disease in Washington county, Frederick had 80 and Allegany had 33.
To see other counties reports, click here.