A new health worry is coming to Muskingum County.
Blacklegged ticks, a Lyme disease carrier rarely seen in Ohio before 2010 are now making themselves at home in the Buckeye state. They are thought to be established in Licking, Coshocton and even Muskingum county. The influx of the blacklegged tick also known as the deer tick poses a much larger threat than regular dog ticks because they are so hard to detect.
"Deer ticks are much smaller than dog ticks. Think of them as being the size of a freckle, they’re very small and that’s probably the main difference in looking at a deer tick or a black legged tick as compared to our regular dog tick," said Extension Educator for Muskingum County, Mark Mechling.
To infect a human with Lyme disease the tick needs to bite its host and then hang on for 36 to 48 hours to transmit the disease-causing bacteria. Insect repellent can be used to prevent picking up ticks but inspecting yourself and others is the best way to avoid a bite.
"Just checking yourself after being outside for ticks and if you do have a tick bite you may want to get it checked out by a medical doctor, particularly if there’s some unusual swelling, or just some unusual signs after that has bitten you. We would encourage you to get to a doctor as soon as possible," said Mechling.