Experts Warn Of Tick-Borne Illnesses As Summer Approaches

KYW’s Jim Melwert and Lynne Adkins contributed to this story.. 

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA (CBS) –– As the summer months approach, don’t forget to take the necessary steps to prevent tick-borne illnesses.

A warm, wet winter leads to a bad tick season according to Dr. Martin Topiel, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Virtua Health.

He says ticks and the animals carrying them including deer and mice have flourished. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know we have a tick bite until symptoms occur.

“Looking for the rashes can sometimes be helpful, anywhere from 3-to-30-days thereafter one can develop a flu-like feeling, muscle aches, joint aches, headaches, said Topiel.

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He says Lyme disease could be a big issue this season, but we don’t need to spend much time worrying about Powassan virus, which has been in the news lately.

“Powassan is a very rare infection, the C.D.C. recently put out a report that there were 75 cases in the last 10 years in the entire United States there were 3 cases in New Jersey, one case in Pennsylvania, he said.

The of most common tick borne illness is still Lyme disease, and Montgomery County Commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh says the best way to prevent Lyme is to prevent a tick bite. She recommends wearing long sleeves and pants outside or wearing insect repellent.

“Check your body for ticks, especially your scalp and hair,” she says. “And parents should really make sure they check their kids.”

According to the Lyme disease association, 24 percent of reported cases from across the country come from Pennsylvania.

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State data show the bulk of those are from the Delaware Valley.

Arkoosh says while Lyme is hard to diagnose, there’s much more awareness in the medical community.

Symptoms can include a rash that looks like a target or a bulls-eye, fatigue, chills, fever, muscle and joint aches.

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