The Tick and Lyme Disease… in Ohio

A Tick Collage

deer-tickUpdated with 2014 Stats.

The phrase lyme disease, and the word ‘tick’ can cause fear and trepidation among anyone within ear shot of a deer crossing sign.  After a recent back and forth with Glenn Needham of The Ohio State University, I have some things to share, including a tick comparison chart.

Let me get to the root of the problem.  Ticks.

What is a Tick, Exactly

  • Ticks are 8 legged arachnids that range in size from a quarter inch around to the size of a tiny poppy seed.
  • Ticks are blood suckers and latch onto anything with a pulse – deer, rodents, birds , pets and people
  • Ticks that have gorged themselves on the blood of an animal can grow many times their own size- even as large as a lima bean.
  • Ticks do live in the woods, along the edge of woods, tall grass and brush areas- anywhere animals may have been, or will be passing through.

There is more than one variety of tick.  American Dog Tick, Black Legged Tick, and the Lone Star Tick

How big are ticks- a great chart
Ticks found in Ohio

What Diseases Can Ticks Carry?

The American Dog Tick can Carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

The Black Legged Deer Tick can Carry Lyme Disease.

The Lone Star Deer Tick can carry Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis.

What Areas of the Country have Ticks with Infectious Diseases?

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Infection Area (spread by American Dog Tick)

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is found across the United States, but surprisingly, rarely in the northern Rocky Mountains from which it originated.  This infection is most commonly in a band across the middle of our great nation.

Incidence Map of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
2010 Incidence Map for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

 have found this dog tick species on my own person, on my dog, and on the clothes of my children. These are the largest of the ticks in Ohio and easy to spot. Keep an eye out for these horrible biting bugs!

Lyme Disease Infected Area (spread by Black Legged Deer Tick)

Human Lyme Disease Infections are numerically on the rise in Ohio.

2010 – 40

2011 – 53

2012 – 67

2013 – 93

2014 Lyme Disease Infections in Ohio 119


Lyme Disease DIAGNOSIS across the USA (not point of infection)
Lyme Disease DIAGNOSIS across the USA (not point of infection)

To further elaborate on the spread of Lyme disease in Ohio.  Check out the CDC’s interactive map.  You can watch the infection spread, and, in a hopeful manner, shrink from year to year between the years 2001 and 2013. Find the Lyme Diseases interactive maps here.

glennThanks to Glenn Needham of The Ohio State University, we have this outstanding map of the population of the Black Legged Deer Tick.  This is not a map of Lyme disease infecting Deer Ticks, but a decent indicator.

Lyme Disease Map Ohio 2012
Click to Enlarge This Black Legged Deer Tick map provided by Glenn Needham of the Ohio State University

Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis (Spread by Lone Star Tick)

Infections like these include symptoms like Fever, Headaches, Chills and aches and pains. CDC Links: Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis.

A map of the breadth of infection of Ehrlichiosis
Ehrlichiosis Incidence Map 2010


Anaplasmosis Incidence Map
Anaplasmosis Incidence Map 2010

What About Tick-borne diseases in Ohio, and More Specifically Akron?

As per Mary K. Daniels of the Ohio Department of Health, in 2012 there were 2 cases of Lyme disease confirmed in Summit County, and 1 probable cause.

So, yes, Lyme disease is here in Akron and the parks.

How Can You Protect Yourself from Ticks?

  • Apply tick repellents (DEET/Permethrin)
  • Tuck pants in socks/shirt in pants
  • Do thorough tick-checks daily
  • Remove/save attached/crawling ticks
  • Develop a tick-safe zone by mowing/mulching
  • Use veterinarian approved anti-tick products, test &
  • Vaccinate pets for Lyme disease



What do you do if you find a tick attached to you?

Remove it as per the video below, and watch the infected area for signs of Lyme disease at least- which would be a large rash, possibly in a bullseye pattern.  The rash can be accompanied by fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes.  If such happens, go to your DOCTOR.


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Founder and Lead Blogger at Akron Ohio Moms
Cindy is the top Akron Blogger with her own take on awesome brands for families, where to vacation for families, a beat on local activities and family fun, a knack for getting moms to share , and a house that is always 2 weeks away from a complete remodel!
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