LYME DISEASE ON THE RISE IN ALLEGANY COUNTY
The weather has finally made a turn for the better and what better way than to enjoy all that Western Maryland has to offer than by getting outside. The region has wonderful walking, hiking and biking trails, scenic campgrounds and plenty of lakes. All of this outdoor activity means that it is important to protect yourself from all insect bites, however especially from ticks. Recently our offices have been seeing a rise in the number of Lyme disease cases from years previous.
Confirmed and probable Lyme disease cases in Allegany County have been increasing since 2011. In 2011, Allegany County had 8 confirmed and probable Lyme disease cases. In 2015, Allegany County had 80 confirmed and probable Lyme disease cases. “We are seeing at least one to two probable/confirmed Lyme disease cases per week” comments Dr. Sean McCagh, Dermatologist at Western Maryland Dermatology.
It is important to know the symptoms of Lyme disease because if it goes untreated it can lead to debilitating symptoms. Early Lyme disease symptoms include:
- an expanding ring of redness around the bite area which often looks like a bull’s eye.
- fatigue, chills, muscle and joint stiffness, swollen lymph nodes and/or headaches.
- In the early phases; weeks to months after the rash disappears, symptoms can include migrating pain in the joints, neck ache, tingling or numbing of the extremities, enlarged lymph glands, sore throat, abnormal pulse, fever, changes in vision or fatigue.
Deer ticks are generally attracted to creases in the body, including armpits, the back of the neck, waists and the back of the knees. It is important to check these areas after outdoor exposure. If you feel tired all the time, you have a headache, fever or body aches, or you develop a rash after a bug bite, you should consult with your dermatologist.
“One of the best ways to prevent Lyme disease is to prepare ahead of your next outdoor adventure” comments Dr. Sean McCagh, Dermatologist at Western Maryland Dermatology. “To help prevent Lyme disease, avoid tick bites by utilizing insect repellent that contains DEET. Also wear long sleeves and pants when outside and check for ticks once you come inside. If you feel tired all the time, you have a headache, fever or body aches, or you develop a rash after a bug bite, contact our office to schedule an appointment to be seen.”
After discussing the current escalation in Lyme disease with Allegany County Health Department Director of Communicable Disease, Lynn Kane, MS, RN, providers and laboratories should be reminded of the Maryland COMAR regulations. Lyme is a reportable disease in Maryland which means providers and laboratories are required to report Lyme cases to the local or State Health Department.
Providers should complete a case report form to capture critical information such as symptoms, onset and treatment. This information allows the Health Department to count the Lyme cases as a probable or confirmed case for the County.
Western Maryland Dermatology specializes in the prevention, education, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. They have two offices to serve your needs in Cumberland and McHenry. With flexible hours including select hours on Saturday’s, it has never been easier to schedule an appointment. If you have any questions or concern about insect bites, rashes, or Lyme disease, call us at 301-777-7900 or visit us online at www.wmderma.com.