With the training population picking up, and more personnel
outside at Fort McCoy as warm weather finally arrives, the risk of
being bitten by deer ticks and contracting Lyme disease also is
A view of the female deer tick,
which can be a carrier and spread Lyme disease. (File
David Beckmann, Fort McCoy installation wildlife biologist,
said people need to refresh their memories as to what deer ticks look
like and what to do if they're bitten by one.
"The best defense is to become knowledgeable about deer
ticks and Lyme disease," Beckmann said. "Preventive measures
such as tucking in shirttails and pant legs will reduce access points
for ticks to reach your body."
Personnel also are encouraged to use sprays, such as Permanone,
which only is for clothing and is available at Fort McCoy. Military
personnel can treat clothing with permethrin repellent, and apply DEET
repellent to skin not covered by clothing. Anyone using these
materials should follow the accompanying instructions.
Ticks that are just crawling on skin or clothing cannot make
people sick. However, if the tick attaches itself, it should be
removed as soon/quickly as possible. The ticks should be saved so they
can be identified if personnel become sick from their bite.
Any military personnel or other personnel coming to Fort McCoy
are encouraged to be briefed about deer ticks and Lyme disease. Fort
McCoy, as is Wisconsin, is considered a high-risk area for deer ticks
and Lyme disease, Beckmann said.
Deer ticks use woodland/brush habitat to ease their movements.
Most cases of deer tick encounters are reported when the temperature
at ground level is warm enough for them to move. The high-risk
exposure season runs from about May through August.
Lyme disease may cause symptoms affecting the skin, nervous
system, heart and/or joints of an infected individual. The
most-typical sign of Lyme disease is a rash, which occurs about three
days to one month after the bite of an infected tick. The rash tends
to be roughly circular in shape and often expands, developing a bright
outer border and clear center and taking on a bull's-eye appearance.
Sometimes, multiple, similar red rashes may appear on different
parts of the body. In addition to this rash, patients often develop a
slight fever, chills, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, headache and
swollen lymph nodes.
"Soldiers training or spending time in the field (who
notice these symptoms) or who are sent overseas and suspect they may
have Lyme disease should relate their concerns to medical personnel
for an assessment," Beckmann said.
Soldiers can contact the Troop Medical Clinic (TMC), building
2669, at (608) 388-3025 to get more information about Lyme disease,
deer ticks or for information about how TMC is handling the reporting.
Federal civilian employees can call the Occupational Health
Nursing Office (OHNO) at (608) 388-3209/2414 for more information.
OHNO will have information about Lyme disease at the Health and
Wellness Fair Wednesday, May 14 at the Rumpel Fitness Center, building
All cases of Lyme disease that occur in Monroe County are
reported through healthcare providers to the Monroe County Health
Department at (608) 269-8666 or (608) 372-8666.