Breaking News
More () »

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Maine! Make sure you're taking precautions against ticks!

Individuals and families spending more time outdoors, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, should take steps to limit their exposure to ticks.

MAINE, USA — The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) urges Maine people to take precautions against ticks during May, which is Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

The Maine CDC received a record 2,079 Lyme disease case reports from health providers in 2019. This is the highest number of cases ever reported in the state and, according to Maine CDC, the number may have even risen after January 16, 2020 (the date they released that number) as providers were still making additional case reports.

This year’s Lyme Disease Awareness Month theme is “Tick Tock,” which is aimed at reminding Mainers to slow down and take time to practice tick and tickborne disease prevention. 

Deer ticks, which can carry the germs that cause tickborne diseases such as Lyme, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis, are most commonly found in wooded, leafy, and shrubby areas, meaning most Mainers are at risk every day. Individuals and families spending more time outdoors, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, should take steps to limit their exposure to ticks.

RELATED: Risk for Lyme on the rise as more people go outdoors during coronavirus pandemic

Ticks are already active in Maine. The Maine CDC encourages following four strategies help to prevent exposure to ticks and the diseases they carry:

  • Use caution in areas where ticks may be found.
  • Use an EPA-approved repellent such as: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Wear light-colored clothing that covers the arms and legs and tuck pants into socks.
  • Perform tick checks daily and after any outdoor activity.

Health care providers reported at least 2,150 confirmed and probable Lyme disease cases to Maine CDC in 2019. 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.

RELATED: Researchers move forward with a shot against Lyme

RELATED: UMaine report: Ticks found in all 16 counties of Maine; 39% of tested ticks had Lyme

The Maine CDC also provides a number of resources to help educate Mainers on ticks and tickborne diseases. Some of these include:

  • Educational Videos: The Maine CDC has short videos on multiple tickborne disease topics. These include tick identification, how to perform a tick check, tickborne diseases, repellents, and how to choose a residential pesticide applicator. All videos can be viewed through the Maine CDC’s YouTube Channel at: www.youtube.com/MainePublicHealth.
  • Traditional and Social Media Messaging: Check out the Maine CDC’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/MaineCDC) and Twitter (twitter.com/MEPublicHealth) profiles. We will post information about ticks and tickborne diseases throughout the month. Find informational materials on the Maine CDC website (www.maine.gov/lyme/month).
  • Virtual Education: With in-person instruction suspended for the 2019-2020 school year, the Maine CDC’s 3rd through 8th grade tick education is now virtual. Video presentations, games, and activity books are available at: www.maine.gov/dhhs/schoolcurricula.

For more information, visit www.maine.gov/lyme.

RELATED: Lyme cases reported to Maine CDC reach record high in 2019

RELATED: 'Tick Act' one step closer to reality

RELATED: Hunting Ticks: Ticks on the march in Maine

RELATED: Rapid Test for Lyme could lead to quicker treatment for patients

RELATED: Funding the fight against ticks

RELATED: Lyme patients have more options for treatment

RELATED: Kennebunk boy struggles to recover from rare tick-borne illness

RELATED: Name that tick -- Maine researchers test the ticks you send them

RELATED: Fighting ticks with your own personal tick expert

RELATED: Market of Mainers wanting protection against ticks booming

RELATED: Game wardens are on the front lines for Lyme disease

RELATED: Tick-borne diseases can be deadly for pets

RELATED: How far north? Tracking Maine's tick invasion

RELATED: Some parents rely on tick checks, not DEET to keep kids safe

RELATED: Tick invasion: Deer ticks surviving winter are catching parents off guard

RELATED: Tracking ticks: Experts say deer ticks are surviving Maine winters