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Lyme disease spike in Oneida County

Oneida County health officials have seen a sharp rise in Lyme disease as 56 cases have already been confirmed this year.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – Oneida County health officials have seen a sharp rise in Lyme disease as 56 cases have already been confirmed this year.

In 2012, there were only 14 cases confirmed all year.

Health officials believe that the increase is not a crisis, but certainly concerning.

There may be more than one reason for the growing geographic area these ticks are covering and number of cases they're causing in people according to experts.

"The research is ongoing but weather and climate changes are believed to have an affect on the number of ticks, certainly their behavior patterns and also with people getting out and coming in contact in areas where ticks are," said Supervising Public Health Nurse for the Oneida County Health Department Linda Kokoszki.

Another explanation may be the simple fact that people are becoming better educated about Lyme disease, recognizing it more often and so are doctor offices and that may be leading to more reports being confirmed.

"I think the message we want to get out is, yes it’s out there, there's not a need to panic but to learn about it and take preventative measures," Kokoszki said.

Kokoszki points out that the tick has to be attached for at least 36 hours in order to transmit the disease which is why prevention is so key.

If you're in wooded or bushy areas, you should consider bug repellent with 20 percent DEET, long pants and shirts. Most importantly, you should do a full body check of yourself, children and pets after being in tick prone areas.

If you find one, use tweezers to pull it out by the head.

Kokoszki also notes that the familiar bull’s-eye rash doesn't appear in 25 percent of people who actually have the disease, which makes the check the best way to catch and stop Lyme disease.

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