Healthcare Professionals: Common Ticks
| Lyme Disease
| Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Currently, ticks in Arkansas do not carry Lyme disease. However, individuals who have travelled to other parts of the country, especially the Northeast and Midwest, might have become infected while traveling. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.
Diagnosis, Treatment and Testing
The Arkansas Department of Health utilizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) case definition for Lyme disease. Current case definitions for all tickborne diseases can be found on the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) website.