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  • Tickborne Illnesses

    In June 2023, a Puyallup woman tested positive for a tickborne disease called anaplasmosis. It was the second reported case in Washington. Read more in our news release.

    What you should know.

    Ticks are small bugs that feed on blood. They can latch on to people or pets when walking through tall grass or brushy areas. Ticks latch on and feed for a few hours or a few days. In Washington, ticks have spread:

    • Anaplasmosis.
    • Babesiosis.
    • Lyme disease.
    • Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
    • Tickborne relapsing fever.
    • Tick paralysis.
    • Tularemia.

    Ticks are less common in Washington than other parts of the U.S.

    A close-up photo of a rocky mountain wood tick clinging to the tip of a blade of grass. The tick is very small.
    Photo: James Gathany / CDC.

    Protect yourself against tickborne illness.

    When you go outdoors: 

    • Avoid walking in tall grass and brushy areas.
    • Walk in the center of trails.
    • Wear long pants and long-sleeves in brushy areas and tall grass.

    When you return home:

    • Check clothing, gear, and pets for ticks.
    • Check your body and your child’s body for ticks.
    • Shower soon after you get home.

    Ticks can be small and grow larger as they feed. They may look like a new freckle or speck of dirt. Check around your hairline and arms, legs, and torso.

    Safely remove an attached tick.

    To remove a tick:

    • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick close to the skin.
    • Pull upward with steady pressure.
      • If you can’t remove the mouth parts, just let the skin heal.
    • After removing the tick, clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

    If you get sick within several weeks of removing a tick, contact your healthcare provider. Common symptoms from tickborne illness include:

    • Rash.
    • Fever.
    • Flu-like illness.

    You may want to save the tick in a container so the provider can help identify it.