Health Department staff perform active outreach to identify trends in Lyme Disease, human ehrlichiosis and other tick-borne diseases. Thousands of reports are received annually from physicians or laboratories for investigation.
These activities assure that the Health Department has an accurate picture of Lyme Disease and ehrlichiosis in the county and that physicians are provided with the most up-to-date tools to prevent, diagnose and treat tick-borne diseases.
A relatively new and potentially more deadly tickborne disease, ehrlichiosis, continues to spread in Westchester County. Education, prevention of tick bites and recognition and treatment of early signs and symptoms remain our best weapon in the battle against tickborne diseases. Another tickborne disease, babesiosis, is now found in Westchester County also.
The illustration above, courtesy of the CDC, includes three human-biting tick species found in the United States. Only Ixodes ticks are known to transmit the Lyme disease bacterium to humans. Click on the image to see a larger image.
Black-legged ticks, Ixodes scapularis (image top), are responsible for transmitting Lyme disease bacteria to humans in the northeastern and north-central United States. On the Pacific coast, the bacteria are transmitted to humans by the western black-legged tick, Ixodes pacificus. Ixodes ticks are much smaller than common dog and cattle ticks. In their larval and nymphal stages, they are no bigger than a pinhead. Ticks feed by inserting their mouths into the skin of a host and slowly take in blood. Ixodes ticks are most likely to transmit infection after feeding for two or more days.
The image above right illustrates the various sizes of the tick family based on a centimeter scale. Reading from left to right are the deer tick adult female, adult male, nymph, and larva. The image is courtesy of Centers for Disease Control.
Be Tick Free
Tick Identification and Testing Services
Ticks generally need to be attached for at least 24 hours before they can pass along infections such as Lyme disease. Daily tick checks and proper removal are one of the most effective way to prevent such infections.
Residents interested in identifying a species of tick they have removed from a person or pet should call the tick testing labs listed below prior to sending their tick because each lab has its own packaging and shipping requirements. The list below is for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as an endorsement of any particular laboratory or procedure.