The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reminds Mainers to get in the habit of taking precautions against ticks and tickborne diseases during May, Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Maine. Most Mainers are at risk every day, since deer ticks that can carry pathogens that cause tickborne diseases such as Lyme, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis are most commonly found in wooded, leafy, and shrubby areas.
As warmer weather ushers in the beginning of tick season, individuals are advised to take the proper steps to limit exposure to ticks. Using the following four strategies will help you to be Tick Aware and Tick Alert, to prevent exposure to ticks and the pathogens they can carry:
- Use an EPA-approved repellant
- Wear protective clothing
- Perform daily tick checks
- Use caution in tick-infested areas
Providers reported over 1,400 confirmed and probable Lyme disease cases to Maine CDC in 2018. The most commonly reported symptom was an erythema migrans or "bullseye" rash. Other common symptoms include arthritis, fatigue, chills, fever, headache, and swollen lymph nodes.
Maine CDC continues its efforts to help educate Mainers on ticks and tickborne diseases. Some of our activities include:
- Lyme Disease Awareness Month Poster Contest 10-Year Anniversary Exhibition: 30 posters from the last 10 years of the LDAM Poster Contest will be exhibited in May at the Maine Children's Museum. For more information check out: www.kitetails.org/
- Public Events: Maine CDC will have information tables at a number of public events throughout May. Check the Maine CDC website for details on locations and times:maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/vector-borne/lyme/month/index.shtml
- Traditional and Social Media Messaging:Make sure to check the CDC's Facebook (www.facebook.com/MaineCDC) and Twitter (twitter.com/MEPublicHealth) profiles throughout the month for information regarding ticks and tickborne diseases. We also have an informational newsletter you can access and share through the Maine CDC website (www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/vector-borne/lyme/month/index.shtml)
- Educational videos: Maine CDC has short videos on multiple tickborne disease topics, including: Tick identification, how to perform a tick check, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Powassan encephalitis, repellants, and how to choose a residential pesticide applicator. All videos can be viewed through Maine CDC's YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/channel/UCcbz6ki04I87wF180D7IKdg)
In addition to these events and resources, Maine CDC offers a variety of tickborne disease data on the Maine Tracking Network Portal:
- View Lyme disease data at the town level from 2008-2017
- Identify trends in tick submission data from 1989-2013, through a collaboration with the Maine Medical Center Research Institute's Vectorborne Disease Laboratory
- Follow Lyme disease data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey
- View updated Lyme disease data through 2018
- View anaplasmosis and babesiosis data by county, gender, and age for 2001-2018.
This data can be reached by visiting www.maine.gov/lyme and clicking on the Maine Tracking Network on the left navigation pane.