As people begin to head outdoors in the warm weather, Broome County health officials are warning residents about a dramatic increase in Lyme Disease over the past decade

Lyme can be contracted by getting bit by an infected deer tick.

The ticks come out in the late spring and summer and are difficult to locate due to their small size.

People who spend time outside, in the woods,  or in the garden are encouraged to wear long sleeves and pants, take a shower when they return home, and scan their body for ticks.

Symptoms include a red rash, that can sometimes resemble a bull’s eye, along with the non-respiratory symptoms of the flu, which include head and body aches.

If untreated, Lyme Disease can cause cardiac and neurological problems and even death.

“You need to take it seriously because it is a progressive disease if it is not treated.  Some of the manifestations of Lyme Disease are deadly,” said Yourdon.

If a tick attaches and its removed within 36 hours of a bite, the risk of Lyme disease is drastically reduced.

Lyme Disease diagnoses stayed consistent at less than 20 cases per year from 1994 to 2008.

Then, New York State discovered Lyme disease-infected ticks in our area, resulting in 60 cases in 2011, 205 in 2013,  and 300 cases in 2016.

2017’s numbers are not in, but health officials anticipate another increase.

However, there have been no Broome County deaths attributed to Lyme Disease.