With warmer weather starting, Lyme Disease season is here and the Freehold Area Health Department Tick-borne Diseases Program would like to remind the public of the potential for Lyme Disease transmission to both humans and domestic animals.


Lyme Disease is caused by a spirochete bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi) which is spread through a bite from infected ticks. In New Jersey, the tick most commonly associated with infections of Lyme Disease is the black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) (Ixodes scapularis). The deer tick is found in the shrubby understory of the forest and at the edges between woodland and high grassy areas. Ticks do not jump or fly-they crawl up vegetation and wait for an animal to brush against them. They then climb upon the animal and insert their mouthparts. They will feed on blood for 3 to 5 days. Following a blood meal, the tick swells to more than 4 times its normal size and then drops to the ground.


While appearing to be a mild disease initially, Lyme Disease can result in serious medical complications in humans if not treated. Symptoms usually occur one to two weeks after being bitten by an infected tick, beginning with an enlarging red area of the skin at the site of the bite. Other early symptoms include fever, headache, neck stiffness, malaise, and general muscle and joint aches and pain. If not treated, the disease can spread to affect other areas of the body such as the nerves and heart.

Reduce Exposure

You can reduce your exposure to tick bites by wearing protective clothing (long sleeves and legs covered), applying insect repellant containing DEET when working, and recreating in tick habitat.

Removing Ticks

If you find a tick attached to you, you should remove it carefully with a pair of tweezers, being cautious not to leave pieces behind which would likely cause infection. Persons who believe they have found a tick on themselves or their animal are encouraged to place the tick in a small container with moist cotton and send it to health officials so that proper testing and identification. This practice will help us understand the size of the tick population and the extent of infection is those ticks.

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