Save the tick — and report the incident

We’re moving into tick season again, and it has been reported that Oregon has seen a significant increase in tick activity this year. Theresa Denham, the founder of the Oregon Lyme Disease Network (OLDN), has received 32 phone calls of attached ticks on people in Oregon in the last week alone — a significant increase compared to the same time last year. At least three incidents (roughly 10 percent) are associated with signs of infection (EM or generalized rash, or other symptoms).


Ticks, ticks and more ticks.

Black-legged ticks and American dog ticks can carry and transmit to humans severe and potentially long-lasting diseases. For example, black-legged ticks are known to carry Lyme disease, Babesia, Erlichia, Relapsing fever, and Anaplasmosis. American dog ticks are known to carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) and Tularemia.

If you find any ticks, whether or not they are attached to you, a family member, or a pet, please report the incident, along with the suspected area where the tick was picked-up (e.g., in Hood River, or hiking near the Columbia in Oregon, or hiking near the Columbia in Washington, or elsewhere), to Mary Jane Heppe at, or to Theresa Denham at Please take a picture. If the tick was attached please consider sending it to UMass Laboratory of Medical Zoology ( and send the report findings to Heppe or Denham.

We will collate the data, which will be made available on the OLDN website, to help generate a state-wide assessment of tick activity. If you save the tick and contact us, we can have it tested to help assess the prevalence of tick-borne disease in the state. OLDN urges people to be vigilant about potential tick exposures this early in the season.

If you are a physician or medical practitioner, or a person wishing to learn more, the American Association of Family Practitioners (AAFP) has free accredited continuing medical education on Lyme disease located at

Mary Jane Heppe is a Lyme coach, patient advocate and co-leader of the Mid-Columbia Lyme Group in Hood River.

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