The tick-borne disease anaplasmosis continues to be a concern after a spike in the disease last year, says state epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett.
Bennett says nearly 300 cases have been reported so far this year, which is on pace with last year’s total of 663. Anaplasmosis appears to be spreading across Maine the same way Lyme disease did a decade ago.
"As anaplasmosis spreads through the tick population, we're going to see the increase in anaplasmosis cases, and so we're going to be more likely to see coinfection."
It's the bite of the freckle-sized deer tick nymph that's primarily to blame. Bennett says nymphs tend to peak in July, and ticks thrive in the hot and humid weather we've been experiencing.
"Be aware. This is one of the peak times where we see tick-borne diseases, and it just comes back to the usual kinds of prevention we can do to protect ourselves."
Left untreated, anaplasmosis can lead to severe health issues. Bennett advises those who spend time outdoors to wear insect repellent, perform tick checks and says to go to the doctor if you experience fever, headaches and body aches.
Updated 3:57 p.m.