MISSOURI — Lyme disease is one of the most prominent diseases you can acquire from ticks however, here in Missouri it’s not as common as some might think.

According to the Director of the Lafayette County Health Department, Tom Emerson, the two most common diseases Missouri residents can get from ticks are Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Listen to the interview below.

Ehrlichiosis is a bacterial disease caused by a bite from the Lone Star Tick and symptoms include: fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a tick-borne disease caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii. RMSF symptoms include: fever, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, and muscle pain and can be potentially fatal if not treated in the first few days of symptoms.

The Missouri State Parks website offered the following tips on prevention and removal of ticks:

  • Apply insect repellent containing 20-50% DEET (as directed on the label) to your clothing and footwear
  • Wear light-colored clothing and consider tucking your pants into your socks
  • Walk in the center of trails to avoid overhanging brush and grass
  • Examine your clothes and skin frequently for ticks (be sure to check your dogs too)
  • Shower soon after you return indoors

“Don’t listen to any of the wives tales about putting alcohol or any of that stuff on it,” says Emerson.

If you should find a tick attached to your body, carefully remove it immediately.

  • Use tweezers to grasp the tick near its mouth parts (as close to your skin as possible)
  • Pull firmly and straight out to remove the tick
  • Wash your hands and the site of the bite
  • Apply antiseptic to the bite

Emerson says that here in Missouri tick diseases are higher than normal.

“Lyme disease gets the biggest press, but it’s technically not present in Missouri,” says Emerson. “Most of the cases are people that were somewhere else and the thing is, a lot of these diseases kind of start looking and acting the same so a lot of times you will get a diagnosis of Lyme disease that’s not really Lyme.”

For more information on ticks and tick-borne diseases you can visit the CDC website or the Missouri State Parks website.

You can also click here to be directed to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website.