MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAW)- 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed across the United States each year, and the Badger State is a hotbed for it.
“Wisconsin is highly endemic for a variety of tick born infectious diseases that are transmitted by the ticks that we have in our geographic area,” said Jennifer Meece, a research scientist for Marshfield Clinic.
Like people, ticks also enjoy rising temperatures.
“The weather is nice, they’re (ticks) out questing,” said Meece. “They’re looking for a place to get a blood meal.”
Simple steps like wearing longer clothing and checking your body for ticks after spending time outside can help prevent problems, but the common belief that they’re only in wooded areas isn’t true.
“They pretty much could be anywhere, they really are,” Meece said. “We think about them in the deep woods, but that’s not necessarily true anymore. They’re universally distributed in our area.”
Marshfield Clinic offers wallet sized cards or brochures on their website with information about different types of ticks, but as far as the ones that cause Lyme disease.
“It’s the deer tick that’s the culprit in our area.”
Figuring out whether you have Lyme disease or not could also be tricky right now. Many of the symptoms, fever, body aches, and headaches, are similar to that of COVID-19
“I think it’s going to be a complicated time trying to disentangle some of that,” Meece said. “It doesn’t look particularly different than a lot of the other infectious diseases that we have right now.”
While the trademark bullseye rash is a good sign one has Lyme disease, you can still have the disease without the rash.
“We estimate based on various research that it might occur in 40-70% of the cases,” Meece said. “So a large number of people won’t get that characteristic bullseye rash.”
You can view or print out Marshfield Clinic’s tick ID cards at this link. https://www.marshfieldresearch.org/News/stop-lyme-disease-address-threat-with-new-tick-id-cards,