Maine CDC Press Release

May 5, 2008

Practice the 'Three Cs' to Reduce Likelihood of Lyme Disease

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH 207-287-3270
Or John Martins, Director
Employee and Public Communications (207) 287-5012

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) reminds Mainers that while it is important for our overall health to enjoy the outdoors, it is also important to take some simple precautions that will reduce one’s chances of tick bites in order to prevent Lyme Disease. “Lyme Disease, a bacterial infection, is on the rise in Maine, and three-quarters of infections are contracted in May through August, so now is the time to take precautions,” said Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH, Director of the Maine CDC.

“‘Clean Up, Cover Up, and Check Daily’ is our mantra,” said Dr. Mills.

  • Clean Up unnecessary standing water, rain gutters, leaf litter, brush, and logs in order to reduce tick (and mosquito) habitats around the yard;
  • Cover Up with a long-sleeve shirt and pants, and use a DEET-containing insect repellent to reduce the chances of being bitten by ticks (and mosquitoes);
  • Check your skin and your children’s skin daily for ticks when you have been outside.

“Over the past several years, we have seen a large increase in the number of Mainers who have reported Lyme Disease – from less than 100 per year 10 years ago to over 500 in 2007, including a 100 percent increase since 2005,” Mills said. “About two-thirds of these infections occurred among residents of York and Cumberland Counties, though reports have been received from every county in Maine. Lyme Disease is most commonly seen among school-aged children and middle age adults.”

“The most important point is that Lyme Disease is preventable. Since it is carried by deer ticks, effective prevention measures include reducing the chances of getting bitten and checking skin for ticks, since the infection will not be transmitted if ticks are removed within 24 to 36 hours,” further explained Dr. Mills.

The most common early symptom of Lyme Disease is an expanding red rash that occurs at the site of the tick bite within 3-32 days after being bitten. Fever, joint and muscle pains may also occur. Persons with these symptoms should call their doctor. Although a few report ongoing symptoms, the vast majority fully recover after receiving appropriate treatment, such as antibiotics.

Additional information can be found on Lyme Disease at http://www.MainePublicHealth.Gov, under “Lyme Disease”.