Vt. Health Dept. unveils ‘tick-tracker’ website

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Health Department is offering the public a new way to find out where ticks are being discovered across the state.

Anyone can contribute to the Tick Tracker map by going to the Health Department website.

The site also has information about tick-borne diseases and how to prevent tick bites.

“Once you report ticks in your area, it shows up on a map so that everyone can know where they might want to take extra precautions when spending time outdoors,” said the Health Department’s Erica Berl, an infectious disease epidemiologist. “It’s not too late to report – adult ticks are most active in the spring and fall.”

The deer tick, the species responsible for transmitting Lyme disease, has become the most frequently found tick in Vermont.

In 2011 Lyme disease reached an all-time high in Vermont with more than 500 reports of people who were likely exposed in the state. In 2012, there were 367 reported cases with likely exposure.

The Health Department is working to raise awareness about Lyme disease. A deer tick must be attached to a human host for about 36 hours before the Lyme disease bacteria can be transmitted.

Prompt removal can prevent illness, so people should get in the habit of checking themselves for ticks at least once a day.

Lyme disease can be effectively treated with antibiotics, but if left untreated, it can be serious and affect the skin, heart, nerves or joints.

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