The American dog tick is the most common in Ohio, especially between mid-April through June. About 1-2 percent of these ticks are carriers of a bacterium responsible for Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The state reports about two dozen cases of this disease annually.
A greater threat is the dramatic increase in the Lyme disease in Ohio and other parts of the nation. Since 2010, when the first population of blacklegged or deer ticks was found in Coshocton County, there has been a three-fold increase in number of reported cases of Lyme disease, according to statistics maintained by the Ohio Department of Health.
In 2015, there were 153 cases of Lyme disease in the state, compared to an average of 53 during the previous decade. Studies have revealed as many 10-25 percent of deer ticks in several northeastern Ohio counties carried Lyme disease. Deer ticks are around much of the year, and are in 67 of Ohio’s 88 counties, showing a tendency toward a fall peak.
There are ways to lessen the risk of acquiring diseases caused by the bite of an infected tick:
-Stay away from brushy areas with tall grass. If walking on a trail or in a park, follow the center of the trail.
-Consider tick-repellent clothing or DEET, and wear light-colored pants (to better see ticks) tucked into socks if walking in woodland areas. View your hairline and under the arms for a possible clinging tick (ticks like warmth).
-Check your pet thoroughly for ticks, before going inside, as well as your clothing and bags. Tick prevention medications should be used year-round in Ohio.
-Any signs of illness after walking in a wooded area–rash, fatigue, itchy skin, chills, joint pain, muscle weakness–should be reported to a doctor immediately for examination.