Health Team

Wake County reports two cases of Lyme disease

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

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RALEIGH, N.C. — 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.


Kathy Hanrahan, Web Editor

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