The facts about Lyme disease

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Lyme disease is an infection transmitted by the bite of certain, very small, infected ticks.

In Germany, the tick most likely to transmit Lyme disease is the Castor Bean Tick. Ticks infected with the disease can spread the infection to humans.

Ticks with Lyme disease are present in nearly every state in Germany. These ticks get infected with the bacterium when they feed on an infected animal, such as mice or other wild rodents.

Lyme disease is passed onto humans when an infected tick bites a person, and latches on long enough (usually 24-48 hours) to have a blood meal.

Ways to minimize the risk of a tick bite are noted below:

· During outside activities, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs. Wear a hat, and tie hair back.

· Use insecticides to repel or kill ticks. When using any chemicals, follow label directions carefully. Be especially cautious when using them on children.

· Check body areas where ticks are commonly found: behind the knees, between the fingers and toes, under the arms, in and behind the ears, and on the neck, hairline, and top of the head. Also Check places where clothing presses on the skin.

· Remove attached ticks as quickly as possible. Removing a tick before it has been attached for more than 24 hours greatly reduces the risk of infection. Use tweezers, and grab as closely to the skin as possible. DO NOT remove ticks by squeezing them, coating them with petroleum jelly, or burning them with a match.

· If you remove a very small tick and want to have it tested for Lyme disease, place it in a clean pill vial or tight-sealed plastic storage bag with a moistened cotton swab.

If you suspect that you may have Lyme disease be on the lookout for one these symptoms:

· Tiredness
· Chills and fever
· Headache
· Muscle and/or joint pain
· Swollen lymph glands
· A characteristic bulls-eye skin rash

If you find that a tick has latched onto you, here are some simple instructions to remove it:

· Use fine tipped tweezers to grab the tick as close to the surface of your skin as possible.

· Pull up with even pressure. Do not rotate or tug on the tick; this can cause the body to break off from the mouth and it remains in the skin.

· After removing the tick, ensure to clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

For more information, contact the Public Health office at DSN 452-8308 or Commercial 0656561-8308 or visit www.cdc.gov/lyme