Tick season is upon us, and New Jerseyans would be wise to be on the lookout for any signs of ticks — not just on their pets, but also on themselves and their children. In 2011, there were 4,262 reported cases of Lyme disease in New Jersey, ranking it third for the state with the highest number of cases, behind New York and Pennsylvania.
The Lyme Disease Association estimates that only 10 percent of cases get reported, so it extrapolates that more than 40,000 residents were infected with the disease in 2011.
According to the state Department of Health, symptoms of Lyme disease, which is spread through the deer tick in New Jersey, appear three to 30 days after a tick bite. The tick must be attached for a minimum of 36 hours to transmit the bacterium. May and June are the most likely time of year to become infected because the ticks are small enough to go undetected.
Common symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash that looks like a bullseye, fatigue, fever, headache, stiff neck, and joint pain. Antibiotic treatment is most effective in the early stages of the disease. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause heart problems, arthritis, or neurological issues.