Maine CDC Press Release

August 18, 2016

Mainers Urged to Take Precautions As Tickborne Diseases Surge

Due to a record number of reports of tickborne diseases, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to take the necessary precautions to avoid tick bites.

AUGUSTA – As the warm weather continues Mainers enjoy all the outdoor activities our State has to offer, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to take the necessary precautions to avoid tick bites.

The CDC has received a record number of reports of tickborne diseases. And while most people think of Lyme disease when ticks are mentioned, others such as anaplasmosis and babesiosis are on the rise. All three of these diseases are carried by the deer tick, which is also known as the black-legged tick.

Providers have reported 424 cases of Lyme disease this year. This number is preliminary as Lyme disease takes more time to be confirmed and there is lag of several months in case reports. In all of 2015, 1,206 Lyme cases were reported.

As of August 18, providers reported 224 cases of anaplasmosis compared to 186 cases in all of 2015. Maine’s previous high for anaplasmosis was 191 cases in 2014. Symptoms of anaplasmosis include fever, headache, malaise, and body aches.

Providers also reported 56 cases of babesiosis cases this year, compared to 55 cases reported in 2015. Symptoms of babesiosis include extreme fatigue, aches, fever, chills, sweating, dark urine, and anemia. Ticks can be found statewide, but the risk for anaplasmosis and babesiosis is highest in the southern counties and Mid Coast region.

“While I encourage people to enjoy the summer and the outdoors across our State, it’s important to be aware of these diseases and to take action to avoid tick bites,’’ said Maine Commissioner Mary Mayhew. “The increase in cases confirms that this is a particularly active season for ticks.”

Maine CDC recommends following the No Ticks 4 ME approach:Using caution in tick infested areas: stay on paths and avoid brushing against high grass or shrubs

• Wearing protective clothing: wear long sleeve and pants, or clothing treated with permethrin

• Using an EPA-approved repellant: apply repellent according to labels, paying particular attention to how often it needs to be reapplied

• Performing daily tick checks: pay special attention to warm protected areas like the nape of the neck, armpits, groin area, and behind the knees.

For more information on anaplasmosis, babesiosis, tick identification and repellent use, visit www.maine.gov/idepi. Videos are also available at: www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/videos.shtml

County Data for Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, and Lyme as of August 18:

County Anaplasmosis Babesiosis Lyme
Androscoggin 9 3 22
Aroostook 0 0 0
Cumberland 39 11 85
Franklin 0 0 1
Hancock 6 0 46
Kennebec 19 4 57
Knox 50 12 25
Lincoln 46 3 32
Oxford 3 2 10
Penobscot 0 1 25
Piscataquis 0 0 2
Sagadahoc 18 4 20
Somerset 2 1 5
Waldo 6 1 24
Washington 0 0 10
York 46 14 60
Total 224 56 424
Lyme disease numbers are lower than expected due to passive surveillance, it takes several months for a case to be reported and included in the counts