SAN DIEGO — County Vector Control officials warn outdoor enthusiasts to be aware of ticks while enjoying activities in local parks and open spaces. Ticks are common in San Diego from November through April.
“Ticks can carry Lyme disease, tularemia or other diseases,” said Wilma Wooten, MD, County of San Diego Public Health Officer.
Symptoms of tularemia in humans include lymph node swelling, headache and fever, skin ulcer at the site of the bite, fatigue, body aches, nausea and even death in rare cases. Tularemia also can be transmitted by handling or eating infected meat or drinking water contaminated by an infected animal.
Lyme disease is a bacterial disease spread by the bite of a Western black-legged tick. It usually starts with a circular rash at the site of the tick bite. Flu-like symptoms and joint aches may follow. If detected early, the disease can be treated with antibiotics.
Without treatment, symptoms including arthritis, severe headache, temporary paralysis of facial muscles and possible development of heart disease may persist in the human body for several years. Tularemia and Lyme disease are not transmitted person to person.
Tick prevention tips:
• Stay on marked wide trails and walk in the center to avoid grass or brushy areas.
• Wear light-colored long-sleeved clothing; tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks or boots.
• Apply insect repellent to clothing and footwear.
• Check clothing, body and companions for ticks frequently.
• Remove ticks immediately. Grasp the head with tweezers; pull straight out using a firm, steady motion.
• Clean the bite area with antiseptic.
• Ticks may be submitted to Vector Control for identification.
• Treat pets with insecticide powders or sprays labeled for tick control and keep them on a leash.
For more information on tick-borne diseases and prevention, visit http://www.sdvector.com.