Health Team

Wake County reports two cases of Lyme disease

Posted March 17, 2010

— Wake County health officials said Wednesday that two residents were diagnosed with Lyme disease in the last year.

The residents had no history of travel out of the county in the month before they became ill, officials said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, once two cases have been confirmed in a county, the tick-borne infection is considered native to the area for surveillance purposes.

In addition to Wake, Wilkes, Wilson, Pitt, and Carteret counties reported one case each of Lyme disease in 2009.

The most recognizable early sign of Lyme disease is a red or purplish skin lesion that grows over time, State Epidemiologist Dr. Megan Davies said. Treatment with antibiotics is recommended when the lesion appears.

The lesion is not always present in Lyme disease cases.

Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Ehrlichiosis, can be acquired in our state, Davies said.

Davies urged residents to take the following precautions to protect themselves: 

  • Use insect repellent containing 20 to 30 percent DEET. Follow package instructions. Do not apply under clothing or to children under two months of age.
  • Apply permethrin to clothing per package instructions.
  • Wear light-colored clothing and tuck long pants into socks to help keep them off of your skin. Also, wear closed-toed shoes.
  • Do thorough tick checks of yourself, your children and pets. Completely remove any ticks found. Ticks attached to skin for less than 24 hours are unlikely to transmit Lyme disease.
  • Research has found that bathing within two hours after being exposed to a tick habitat may also reduce the risk of Lyme disease transmission.

If you find a tick:

  • Using tweezers, grasp the tick mouthparts as close to the skin as possible, and pull the tick out with steady pressure. Do not yank the tick out.
  • Wash the area with soap and water, then dry and apply a topical antiseptic.
  • Do not use a hot match, nail polish remover, petroleum jelly or other substances to remove ticks.
  • Mark the spot where the tick was removed and mark the date on your calendar. Watch the spot during the next several weeks for early signs of illness.
  • Consider keeping the tick to be able to show your physician in the event that you start to become ill.
  • Contact your physician if you feel you are developing early symptoms of a tickborne illness.

This story is closed for comments.

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  • nuncvendetta Mar 19, 2010

    lyme disease is one of the biggest silent debilitators our country is facing right now. my mother, an extremely active and joyous individual, liked working in her garden a lot and never used bug repellant. a few years ago, she suddenly got flu-like symptoms and week later tremors and other neurological disturbances. instead of even considering lyme, doctors chalked it up to anxiety/depression and never gave her a chance. now she's bedridden and so far gone that i can't get her to take a lyme blood test because she just doesn't want to deal with the medical community anymore after the hell she went through. anyway, lyme is a clinical diagnosis as much as it is a laboratory one. 10 days of doxycycline at the very onset would've prevented all this.

    i'm convinced that many folks in our part of the country being treated for chronic depression that came out of nowhere actually have a tick bite to blame for their misery.

  • dougdeep Mar 19, 2010

    I really hope the health community gets their head out and starts treating people for lyme disease in NC. They've flat out refused to recognize that this is real.

  • slimjim Mar 18, 2010

    I bet the real numbers for wake county are more like 200. The doctors here refuse to call it lymes. You can test negative and still have lymes. When will these doctors relize this?

  • sgbasham Mar 18, 2010

    I guess my diagnosis/treatment in 1997 in Wake County didn't get reported....

  • Orange RN Mar 18, 2010

    Yes, Lyme disease is definitely here in NC.

    Thank you WRAL- good job communicating tick bite prevention tips and action items if one does receive a tick bite.

  • YourMom Mar 18, 2010

    i was diagnosed with Lyme in 2007 (clinical diagnosis as well as positive lab test) but i had had it for 6+ months before treatment because i didn't see a bulls-eye rash. with records of tick bites kept i was able to pinpoint it to a trip made to the PCS Phosphate site in Beaufort Co (where some other Lyme disease cases have been linked to). i believe it has had lasting effects. it's a tricky illness: symptoms can go away with treatment and then can flair up periodically throughout your life, or they can be debilitating from the onset. if you have been diagnosed and want a support group to help you through the healing process go to NCLYME.ORG

  • thewayitis Mar 18, 2010

    My son had Lyme last year, and I'm sure he's not even counted in these figures. He got a bunch of tick bites at Falls Lake shortly before we saw the rash. The doctor confirmed Lyme, and prescribed antibiotics, but did not do the test due to a lot of false negatives. My youngest son had it several years earlier, with a very aggressive rash -- saw a different doctor, and he did the same thing. My point is, most doctors don't order the Lyme test because it is not that accurate, and treatment needs to start before the results. Lyme is very easy to treat in children, especially if caught early. Lyme is way under-reported in our area. But it's most definitely here.