LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has confirmed that two cases of Lyme disease have been found in the Natural State.
These are the first two cases in the state since 2007 to meet the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's definition of Lyme disease.
While Arkansas is considered a "low-incidence state" for the disease, residents are at-risk for a high amount of potentially fatal tick-borne illnesses. Some of the illnesses include tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Ehrlichia.
"We know that Lyme is rare here," said Dirk Haselow, an ADH epidemiologist, "and we encourage doctors and patients to consider other diagnoses first."
Haselow said the health department is committed to finding cases of Lyme disease when they do occur and that it's important for proper testing to be the definition of the disease.
The best way to avoid the disease and other tick-borne illnesses is simply to not get bitten by a tick. Ticks predominantly live in more wooded or brushy areas or places with high grass and leaf litter. One way to avoid tick bites is to use repellent that contains 20-30 percent DEET.