Arkansas Dept. of Health PRESS RELEASE
February 23, 2017
The Arkansas Department of Health revealed that two cases of Lyme disease have been found in Arkansans. These cases are the first that meet the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s qualifications for the disease since 2007, according to an ADH press release.
Arkansas is considered a low-incidence state for Lyme disease. However, Arkansas has a high number of other potentially fatal tick-borne illnesses, including tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Ehrlichia. Lyme disease is much more prevalent in Northeastern and Midwestern states. “We know that Lyme is rare here, and we encourage doctors and patients to consider other diagnoses first,” said Dirk Haselow, ADH epidemiologist. “However, we are committed to finding cases of Lyme when they do occur. If a test for Lyme is done, it is important for the testing to be done correctly to meet the case definition. Doctors and patients can learn about proper testing and reporting for suspected Lyme cases on our website.”
The best way to protect against tick-borne illnesses is by preventing them. To avoid ticks, the ADH recommends using insect repellents, avoiding wooded and brushy areas with lots of leaf litter and grass, and walking in the center of trails.