Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is transmitted to people through the bite of a black legged tick, Ixodes spp., which is infected with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. In Humboldt County, we have the western black-legged tick, Ixodes pacificus.

Symptoms of Lyme disease can include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic “bullseye” skin rash (erythema migrans). The amount of time the tick is attached is an important factor in disease transmission. Successful transmission typically requires 36 to 48 hours or more of tick attachment.

If an infected person is left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart, and nervous system. However, if detected early, antibiotics can successfully treat the disease.

Reduce Risk
Easy methods to reduce the risk of Lyme disease include using insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing, removing ticks promptly and properly, applying pesticides to your yard, avoiding and reducing tick habitat, and checking yourself soon after spending time outdoors.

It is important to note that the ticks that transmit Lyme disease are capable of carrying other diseases as well.

Easy ways to help prevent Lyme disease:
  • Avoid direct contact with ticks and their habitats
  • If outdoors, check for ticks daily and wear repellant
  • Properly remove any attached ticks
  • Checking yourself soon after being outdoors
  • Call your doctor if you get a rash or fever after a tick bite.
Remove a Tick
How to properly remove an attached tick:
  1. Use fine-pointed tweezers.
  2. Grasp tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible.
  3. Pull out in a slow, steady, and upward motion careful not to leave any body parts, do not twist or burn.
  4. Thoroughly clean the wound and inspect for any remaining body parts.