Lyme disease cases on the rise in New Jersey

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State officials announced efforts Monday to curb the spread of Lyme disease in the state as the number of cases rise.

New Jersey Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal says that as the summer approaches New Jersey residents should take extra precaution to protect themselves from ticks and tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease.

“Tuck your pants into your socks to prevent ticks from getting under your clothes,” Elnahal says. “It may look dorky, but it will prevent that tick from biting you."

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Officials say that more than 5,000 cases of Lyme disease were reported in the state last year, the highest number in 20 years.

"Nationally, diseases from ticks has doubled between 2004 and 2016 so this has followed an upward trend since then,” the health commissioner says. 

Sen. Bob Menendez says that more federal money is being devoted to battling bug-borne illnesses. But he says that awareness and early detection are also important.

“Undertake preventative efforts to prevent that disease from being transmitted from that tick, by preventing that tick from biting you in first place,” Menendez says.

In addition to tucking pants into socks, health experts also recommend wearing light colors and checking oneself and children as soon as they come in from being out in wooded areas. Insect repellent is also recommended.

More information about ticks and Lyme disease can be found at the state website

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