The tick population in New York State is exploding. Each year, the volume and severity of tick-borne illnesses seem to increase and 2024 will be no exception due to the mild winter. Tick bites are very common in New York.

Often, these bites result in minor nuisance symptoms, but tick bites can also result in a fatal illness. There are approximately 30 species of ticks in New York. Of those, about 10 commonly bite people and only four species can cause a serious illness that can result in death.

The three most common ticks in New York (Deer, or Black-legged Tick, the Dog Tick, and the Lone Star Tick) can carry bacteria or viruses that can cause a fatal illness. The less common Woodchuck (Groundhog Tick) can also cause a life-threatening illness.

Tick-borne illness

The most common illness stemming from tick bites is Lyme disease, an acute inflammatory disease characterized by skin changes, joint inflammation and flu-like symptoms. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria transmitted by the bite of a deer tick.

Early Lyme disease symptoms may be mild and easily missed, but if it is untreated, the disease can cause more serious health problems. Patients who are treated with antibiotics in the early stage of infection usually recover rapidly and fully.

The most common symptom is a rash that can resemble a “bulls-eye” circular patch or solid red patch that grows larger.

Powassan encephalitis has been found in up to 10% of the tick population, particularly in the Hudson Valley Region, and has far greater health hazards that include disruption to the central nervous system, encephalitis and meningitis. About 10-15% of these reported cases result in death.

Avoid being bitten

Employers are responsible for protecting workers on the job and should be spreading awareness, providing training, ensuring proper attire and providing effective repellants. Tick bites are OSHA and PESH recordable incidents and must be recorded in the annual report of occupational injuries and illnesses.

Here are some steps employers should give workers:

  1. Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or on animals.
  2. Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone.
  3. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, and socks products containing 0.5% permethrin.
  4. Check for ticks after outdoor activity.
  5. Keep ticks away from exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, with tight cuffs at the wrists and ankles.
  6. Tuck pants into socks or use double-sided tape.
  7. Wear light-colored clothing to be able to see ticks more easily.

Bite Back!

  • Early and proper removal of ticks is known to reduce the probability of illness.
  • Never squeeze or twist an attached tick; it can increase the transmission of harmful bacteria and viruses.
  • Remove the tick with a tick key remover or use clean, fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to its head and the skin’s surface as possible, then pull upward with steady, even pressure.
  • Immediately clean and sanitize the skin and surrounding area of the bite.
  • If possible, place the tick in an air-tight container with a little rubbing alcohol to kill it and save the tick if requested by a medical provider.
  • If at work, document and report the bite immediately or within 30 days.
  • Monitor the bite site for rash or infection.
  • Monitor yourself for sudden onset fever and flu-like symptoms.
  • Contact your medical provider immediately if symptoms progress.
  • Contact a Workers’ Compensation attorney if you are bitten on the job and contract a tick-borne illness and require medical attention.

Disease Spreading Tick Identification Chart




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