There have been several recent cases in Conway of HGA (human granulocytic anaplasmosis), a tick-borne disease. It is treatable with doxycycline.
HGA, a bacterial illness with symptoms including fever, headache, chills, muscle ache, and fatigue, is one of the diseases that can be spread by infected deer ticks, which also carry the germs that cause Lyme disease and babesiosis. HGA can occur during any time of year; symptoms usually begin 7 to 14 days after being bitten by an infected tick. Prevention is key! Avoid habitat along the edge of walking or hiking trails; wear long, light-colored pants tucked into socks or boots, and a long-sleeved shirt when spending time outside in an area likely to have ticks, like brushy, wooded or grassy areas. (To learn how to make your own backyard less inviting for ticks visit http://www.mass/gov/dph/tick.)
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health recommends using a repellent with DEET or permethrin (intended for use on clothing, NOT on skin.) For more information about using repellents safely visit http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/cdc/factsheets/tick-rellents.pdf.
Talk to your veterinarian about tick control options for your pets. And remember to check yourself, your children, and your pets for ticks after spending time in an area likely to have ticks. See your health care provider right away if you develop symptoms of HGA or any other disease carried by ticks. For questions about HGA or other tick-borne diseases contact Mass. Department of Public Health at (617) 983-6800 or toll free at (888) 658-2850, or online at