Health Officials: Tick-borne Disease in the Rise in Vermont

By Kristin Frechette | kfrechette@nexstar.tv

Published 09/27 2016 12:37PM

Updated 09/27 2016 12:54PM

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The Vermont Health Department says the state on track for the highest number of cases of a tick-borne disease called anaplasmosis. 

According to health officials anaplasmosis is transmitted by the black-legged tick, the very same one that spreads Lyme disease. 

“Anaplasmosis is a serious illness, and we’re seeing more of it in Vermont,” said Bradley Tompkins, infectious disease epidemiologist

Officials say one hundred and thirty-three cases of anaplasmosis have been reported in Vermont so far this year, last year less than six were reported.

According to health officials anaplasmosis symptoms can include fever, headache, chills and muscle aches. 

Officials say Anaplasmosis can be treated with antibiotics, antibiotics work best if it’s caught early.

The health department says over one-third of people with anaplasmosis need to be hospitalized.

The department says the best form of defense is to avoid tick bites and offers the following tips. 

REPEL – Before you go outside, apply an EPA-registered insect repellent on your skin and treat your clothes with permethrin. When possible, wear light-colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and tuck your pants into your socks to keep ticks from your skin.

INSPECT – Do daily tick checks on yourself, your children and pets.

REMOVE – Remove ticks right away. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has also been proven effective in washing ticks off the skin before they attach. Put clothing in the dryer on hot heat for 10 minutes to kill remaining ticks.

WATCH – If you were bitten by a tick, watch for signs of disease during the weeks following the bite. Early signs of anaplasmosis include fever, headache, chills and muscle aches, and usually occur within one to two weeks of a tick bite. Call your health care provider if you experience these symptoms.

Click here for more information about anaplasmosis.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.