Q: How prevalent is Lyme disease in Wisconsin?
A: In 2016, 26 cases of the tick-borne disease per 100,000 people were reported in Wisconsin — the ninth-highest rate in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The eight states with higher infection rates in the U.S. are concentrated in the Northeast. Maine had the highest infection rate at 86.4 per 100,000, followed by Vermont at 78.1. Neighboring Minnesota rounded out the top ten with a rate of 23.6 cases per 100,000 people, according to the CDC.
Lyme disease is spread by the deer tick, also known as a blacklegged tick, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Most cases in Wisconsin occur in the western and northern regions, though cases have increased in the central and eastern parts of the state, according to the department.
Although there are other tick-borne diseases — anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan virus — Lyme disease is the most common in Wisconsin, according to the department.
Lyme disease symptoms include the appearance of a red bull’s-eye rash at the site of a bite, flu-like symptoms, joint pain, muscle aches, severe headache, heart palpitations and joint swelling, according to UW Health. A tick would typically need to be attached for at least 36 hours before it can transmit the disease.
Antibiotics are used to treat the disease in its early stages. Intravenous treatment could be required in later stages, according to the Department of Health Services.
To prevent the disease, UW Health said to wear repellent with 20 to 30 percent DEET or wear clothing with permethrin, inspect yourself after spending time outside, have someone check areas you can’t see and take a shower soon after being outside.