Still a little ticked off

It happened to me again. I was attacked and threatened with a disease that can bring the chills, fever, swollen glands, pounding headaches, severe fatigue, a stiff neck, sore back and joint pain including a tingling in the arms and legs.

I was lucky. I found the critter crawling on the back of my leg before it had the opportunity to hit pay dirt.

The first time I noticed one was when two of my hunting partners found them on their flesh, last season.

The little varmints can be found in many grassy, wooded and brushy areas or in stonewalls, woodpiles, tall grass and piles of leaves. They are more common today than ever, in Northern New York. Many fear a warming climate is expanding their northern range.

Most victims never feel the bite, but its aftermath can bring serious health complications and lifelong affects including musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiac problems. The most severe symptoms of the disease may not appear for weeks, months or even years after the bite.

It's a sneaky little pest that can be picked up simply by walking to the mailbox or mowing the lawn or attending a bar-b-que. Golfers are attacked as often as anglers or hunters. So are children who play outside, whether in the backyard or at the local ball field.

Lyme disease, a bacteria delivered by a tick's bite, is prevalent across the entire state. In fact, two out of the three counties with the highest incidence of Lyme disease in the entire country, are located in New York. And it appears to be spreading north.

In 2008, there were 22 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Essex County, while only four cases were reported in Franklin County and six in Clinton County. Even with such small numbers, precautions are advised. Hunters, especially those who sit watch on the ground while pursuing deer and turkey, should be extra careful.

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