Oklahomans Should Be Aware of Ticks, Diseases
For Release: May 10, 2017 – Jamie Dukes, Office of Communications (405) 271-5601
A warm spring means Oklahomans are already enjoying outdoor activities, but a bite from a tick could quickly put a damper on the fun. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) advises persons who participate in outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, bicycle trail riding, yard work and gardening, to follow tick bite prevention precautions.
Ticks can carry many diseases which can cause illness, and even death, in both children and adults of all ages. Oklahoma continues to rank among those states with the highest rate of three types of tickborne illness in the U.S. each year. These diseases include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and tularemia. Oklahomans are at highest risk of tickborne illness from May to August when ticks are most active.
Since 2012, there have been approximately 2,000 cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), ehrlichiosis, and tularemia among Oklahoma residents. Cases have ranged from 2 to 92 years of age; 11 percent of cases were hospitalized due to their illness. It is important to recognize the early symptoms and seek care as these diseases can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated early. In the past five years, four Oklahomans (two adults and two children) died due to tickborne diseases.
The symptoms of a tickborne illness may include fever, chills, muscle aches, vomiting and fatigue. Other symptoms may include a skin rash or painful swelling of lymph nodes near the bite. Symptoms of illness typically occur 3-14 days following a tick bite. Most tickborne diseases can be treated successfully with early diagnosis and appropriate antibiotics, so it is important to seek medical attention if a fever and other signs of illness are noticed within 14 days of a bite or being in an area where ticks are lurking.
The OSDH advises those who participate in hiking, camping, bicycle trail riding, yard work, gardening and other outdoor activities to prevent tick bites by following the tips below:
For more information, visit https://go.usa.gov/x5thh.