Tick on skin.jpeg

Tick on skin.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Ticks carrying the bacteria that causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever have been found in south and east Louisville.

The Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness said the ticks were spotted in 40229, which is south and east of the Interstate 65/265 interchange, and 40223, which is northeast of the Interstate 64/265 interchange.

The rickettsia ricketsii bacteria is spread through the bite of an infected tick, the health department said. Most people who have it experience a fever, headache and rash. It can be fatal if left untreated. 

The health department is asking people to take the following precautions:

  • Before you go outdoors:
    • Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outside walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. Many people get ticks in their yard or neighborhood.
    • Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings. Alternatively, you can buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
    • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. Always follow product instructions. Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old.
    • Avoid contact with ticks that can be found in wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Instead, walk in the center of trails.
  • After you come indoors:
    • Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium-temperature water will not kill ticks.
    • Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and daypacks.
    • Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may be effective in reducing the risk of other tickborne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
    • Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full-body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:
      • Under the arms
      • In and around the ears
      • Inside belly button
      • Back of the knees
      • In and around the hair
      • Between the legs
      • Around the waist

No human cases of Rock Mountain Spotted Fever have yet been reported in Louisville.

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