Health officials warn uptick of Lyme Disease will be the worst yet in the Ohio Valley


Now’s the time to get in the habit of tick checks as deer ticks are as small as President Roosevelt's eye on the dime

OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) — Something first detected in Lyme, Connecticut, thought to be arthritis, now a disease years in the making and spreading throughout the country. West Virginia and Ohio stand in the way of overlap.

Health Officials are warning this will be the worst coming season of Lyme Disease they’ve seen yet. 

For the last ten years cases have clinged to a steady uptick! 

“Lyme Disease will be worse this year. It has grown since we first identified it. It grows and continues to grow and spread westward. It’s coming out of the Northeast corridor, down into the Pennsylvania area, and the greater West Virginia Appalachian Mountains, and then across into the greater Ohio Valley. In addition, it’s coming out of Wisconsin and the Minnesota area and coming down into the Ohio Valley.  

Howard Gamble, Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department

Lyme is a bacteria that travels through deer ticks. 

As more people head into nature, be on the lookout. The best thing you can do is check your body after a hike, mowing the lawn, rolling in the grass. Check your socks, check your legs. 

The black legged tick (aka the deer tick) is small, smaller than a poppy seed. 

But if you have a keen eye, and remove the tick only a couple hours after it’s been embedded, the bacteria Lyme has not had enough time to be transferred to you. 

“So, if you find a tick on you and remove it with a tweezer, it doesn’t mean you’ve contracted Lyme. It just may have been on you. If it’s embedded, you’re going to need at least 24 to 48 hours to transmit the bacteria. So, in this case if you do find one and remove it quickly, you’re going to greatly minimize your chances of picking up Lyme.” 

Howard Gamble, Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department

But sometimes it’s hard to know how long the parasite has been on you. Gamble says if embedded, it’s always best to seek medical attention.

The disease is known to cause joint pain, swelling, tiredness, but if caught before these symptoms set in Gamble says, “It can be treated fairly quickly to try to minimize the effects on the human body.”

Mice and deer are common carriers and we have a lot of deer in our neck of the woods. 

Gamble says young kids, ages 5 to 13, and those older than 60 are the groups seeing the trend of contracting Lyme Disease right now.  

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