Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is caused by the bite of an infected deer tick. May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and the Public Health Education Corps at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention wants to remind you of the importance of daily tick checks and other prevention methods.

Lyme disease is treatable, and most individuals recover completely with proper drugs. However, the easiest way to avoid the disease is to be tick smart, by:

 Using caution in tick-infested areas.

 Wearing protective clothing.

 Using Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellent.

 Performing daily tick checks after outdoor activity.

A tick must be attached for a minimum of 24 hours before the infection can be passed on, making the prompt and proper removal of ticks even more important. If you are bitten by a tick, or work in a known tick habitat, watch for symptoms for up to 30 days. Symptoms include a “bull’s-eye” rash, fever, headache, fatigue and muscle and/or joint pain.

Lyme disease is not the only disease that can be carried by deer ticks in Maine. Anaplasmosis and babesiosis are two other tick-borne infections found in Maine, and the number of reported cases continued to rise in 2016.

Please visit maine.gov/lyme for more information and to see our events throughout May.

Catie Peranzi

health educator, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Augusta