Health Alert: Onondaga County health commissioner warns of rare, dangerous tickborne disease

Living with Lyme

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Onondaga County is reporting an alarming new tickborne disease, with twice as many cases this year alone than in the past five years combined.

It’s called anaplasmosis and it’s typically rare in Central New York. It’s getting the attention of the Onondaga County Health Commissioner, Dr. Indu Gupta.

Over the past five years, a total of three cases were reported in Onondaga County. So far this year, there have been six reported cases.

It’s spread by the same tick that spreads Lyme disease and symptoms normally begin within one to two weeks after being bit.

Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If treatment is delayed, or if there are other medical conditions present, anaplasmosis can cause severe illness and even death in rare cases. It’s important to get treatment early.

If we are diligent in practicing the same prevention measures we’ve learned to prevent Lyme disease, we are protecting ourselves from other tickborne diseases including anaplasmosis.

Dr. Indu Gupta

Ways to protect yourself are:

  • wear light-colored clothing
  • check for ticks daily
  • avoid walking off of trail paths
  • use tick repellent

You can remove a tick by getting down close to its head with fine-point tweezers and pulling it straight up. Clean the bite with soap and water, rubbing alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide.

You can also mail your tick into the Upstate Tick Testing Lab. They’ll test it for any pathogens so you know your risk of infection.

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