With warmer weather starting, Lyme Disease season is
here and the Freehold
Area Health Department Tick-borne Diseases Program would
like to remind the public of the potential for Lyme
Disease transmission to both humans and domestic animals.
Lyme Disease is caused by a spirochete bacterium (Borrelia
burgdorferi) which is spread through a bite from infected
ticks. In New Jersey, the tick most commonly associated with
infections of Lyme Disease is the black-legged
tick (also known as the deer tick) (Ixodes scapularis).
The deer tick is found in the shrubby understory of the forest
and at the edges between woodland and high grassy areas. Ticks
do not jump or fly—they crawl up vegetation and wait
for an animal to brush against them. They then climb upon
the animal and insert their mouth parts. They will feed on
blood for 3 to 5 days. Following a blood meal, the tick swells
to more than four times its normal size and then drops to
While appearing to be a mild disease initially, Lyme Disease
can result in serious medical complications in humans
if not treated. Symptoms usually occur one to two weeks
after being bitten by an infected tick, beginning with
an enlarging red area of the skin at the site of the bite.
Other early symptoms include fever, headache, neck stiffness,
malaise and general muscle and joint aches and pain. If
not treated, the disease can spread to affect other areas
of the body such as the nerves and heart.
You can reduce your exposure
to tick bites by wearing protective clothing (long
sleeves and legs covered), applying insect repellant containing
DEET when working and recreating in tick
If you find a tick attached to you, you should remove
it carefully with a pair of tweezers, being cautious not
to leave pieces behind which would likely cause infection.
Persons who believe they have found a tick on themselves
or their animal are encouraged to place the tick in a
small container with moist cotton and send it to health
officials so that proper testing
and identification. This practice will help us understand
the size of the tick population and the extent of infection
is those ticks.