Tick Borne Illnesses & Prevention

This page has been developed by the Westford Health Department to provide you with access to reliable tick disease information, disease prevention and safe and effective tick control methods (Last revision: June 26, 2015).
Tick borne illnesses are of great concern in Westford, as they are in most of Massachusetts as well as the northeastern part of the United States.

Maps of Lyme Disease Statistics

Reported Cases of Lyme Disease
Incidence Rates for Confirmed and Probable Lyme Disease in Massachusetts 2010-2014

Basic  Tick Information

Tick Types

Massachusetts has 3 known species of ticks:

Habbitats and Disease

Ticks can be found in tall grassy fields. Neither type of ticks can jump or fly. They wait with their front arms out to attach to animals or people passing by. Lone Star ticks (found on Cape Cod) are known to be aggressive feeders also. For more information on specific Tickborne Diseases, click on the hyperlink.

Deer Ticks may spread the following:
Deer Tick
Dog Ticks may spread the following:
Dog Tick

How to Remove a Tick

  • Do not twist the tick or rock it from side to side while removing it
  • Put the tick in a sealed container or zip-locked bag and save it to show the doctor if your child becomes ill
  • Swab the skin with alcohol
  • Wash your hands and the site of the bite with soap and water
  • Use a pair of fine point tweezers to grip the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull straight out with steady pressure
Watch this "How to Remove a Tick" video.

Seek Medical Advice If

  • Any of the following symptoms occur: fever, headache, fatigue, chills, stiff neck or back, muscle or joint aches
  • The bite area look infected (increased redness, swelling, warmth, pain or pus)
  • Part of the tick remains in the skin after attempted removal
  • A rash of any kind develops (especially a red-ringed bull's-eye rash or red dots on wrists and ankles)
  • If the tick might have been on the skin for more than 24 hours

Participate in Your Towns Tick Testing Service

Visit Tick Report to order a comprehensive report about what disease causing microbes the tick may be carrying. With Health Department discounted program, your final cost is $20. Standard cost is $50.

Health Department Tickborne Disease Program

Presented by Dr. Alfred DeMaria, Jr., M.D. on May 7, 2012. Although this program was geared towards medical personnel, the lay person can learn a great deal about the progression of tick borne infections over the years, the types of infections we see in Massachusetts, the symptoms and treatments, and prevention. This video is available on Westford CAT.