If an infected tick transmits the Lyme spirochete to your bloodstream, you don’t feel anything even as the corkscrew-shaped bacterium burrows into your tissues, where it starts multiplying. In as soon as three days, you can start to feel sick as the bacteria disseminate throughout your body.
In Connecticut alone, there are about 30,000 human Lyme disease cases annually, according to Kirby Stafford III, Ph.D., chief scientist and state entomologist of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Last year, there were 2,918 confirmed and probable cases of Lyme; 2,660 cases in 2012, and 3,041 cases in 2011 reported to the Connecticut Department of Public Health. However, Dr. Stafford was quick to point out that only about 10 percent of cases get reported each year, so “this still represents a lot of Lyme disease.” And though the numbers of ticks “continue to be lower than we’ve seen in previous years,” he said, ticks are “still very abundant.”
“It’s extremely important that people be alert and protect themselves against ticks,” says Debbie Siciliano, LRA’s co-president. “Lyme disease can cause serious and debilitating health problems, eventually affecting a person’s nervous system, heart or joints.”
To protect yourself from tick bites, don’t sit in the grass, lean against trees or fences. When hiking in the woods, gardening, camping, or mowing the lawn, wear full length, light-colored clothing and tuck your pant legs into your socks. Spray exposed skin with DEET insect repellent of at least 20 percent concentration. Treat your clothes
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