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Number of Lyme disease cases increasing in Michigan

Posted: 5:56 AM, Jun 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-12 10:41:10-04

TAYLOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — Now is the time of year for ticks, and it is a good time to remember that ticks can carry Lyme disease.

According to the latest numbers from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease has been increasing. In 2015, 152 people were diagnosed with Lyme Disease. In 2016, there were 228 reported diagnoses, and in 2017, it increased again to 291.

Sarah Rose Baran of Taylor was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015. She believes she contracted the disease when she was around the age of 6, remembering a time when she found a “bulls-eye” rash on her body.

“If you end up with a rash, the bulls-eye rash, you have Lyme disease, absolutely,” said Baran.

She says at the time she was tested for Lyme and the test came back negative, so it was dismissed. Throughout the years, she suffered a myriad of issues and misdiagnoses. In college, the symptoms started to kick in.

“I started having problems with memory, depression, anxiety and I just really began to struggle,” said Baran.

She finally found a doctor to give her the proper diagnosis. She said she has had to give up her career as a teacher because of the symptoms, but hopes to get back into the classroom one day.

“The truth is, we don’t know how long it’s going to take for me to recover,” said Baran. She has a GoFundMe page to help in her fight against Lyme disease.

Here are some tips to prevent Lyme disease/ticks from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services :

  • Avoid tick-infested areas, including overgrown grass and brushes. If you go out to enjoy a nature trail, walk on the center of the trails.
  • Consider applying a repellent containing DEET or Picaridin on exposed skin. Repellent should have at between 20% to 30% worth of DEET inside.
  • People can treat their clothing with permethrin, especially pants, socks and shoes. Permethrin can kill ticks and you can buy clothing that is pre-treated. Do not put Permethrin directly onto skin.
  • Check for ticks daily by inspecting your body once you’ve come indoors from being outside. It’s also a good idea to check your animals for ticks.
  • If you find a tick on your body, remove the tick with tweezers. To remove a tick, grasp the tick firmly and as closely to the skin as possible. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. Cleanse the area with an antiseptic. You can also save the tick to be tested to see if it carries Lyme disease.
  • Take a bath or a shower when you get inside, preferably within the first two hours of being indoors.
  • Wash your clothing in hot water and put it in the dryer on high heat to kill any ticks that could remain on clothing.

In 2018, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services started the program "Got a Tick, Submit a Pic." This allows people to send a photo of a tick they find to help people determine what type of tick it is. People can submit photos to MDHHS-Bugs@michigan.gov.