Lyme disease season is here and officials warn cases of Lyme disease continue to increase.

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Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bite of an infected deer tick. Untreated, the disease can cause a number of health problems. Deer ticks are most active during the spring, early summer and fall, according to the New York State Department of Health.

Lyme disease is found in the Northeast, including New York State, the upper Midwest and along the Northwest coast. Lyme disease is on the rise across all of New York State.

The number of reported tick borne disease cases more than doubled in New York from 2004-2016, according to the New York State Department of Health.

The early symptoms of Lyme disease may be mild and easily missed, New York health officials report. If you find a tick attached to your skin, remove the tick with tweezers and watch for the symptoms of Lyme disease. In 60 to 80 percent of cases the first symptom is a rash, officials say.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease:

  • Occurs at or near the site of the tick bite.
    • Is a "bullseye" circular patch or solid red patch that grows larger.
    • Appears between three days and one month after the tick bite.
    • Has a diameter of two to six inches.
    • Lasts for about three to five weeks.
    • May or may not be warm to the touch.
    • Is usually not painful or itchy.
    • Sometimes leads to multiple rashes.

Around the time the rash appears, other symptoms, such as joint pain, chills, fever and fatigue can occur. As Lyme disease progresses, severe fatigue, a stiff neck, tingling or numbness in the arms and legs, or facial paralysis can occur, officials say.

The most severe symptoms of Lyme disease may not appear until weeks, months or years after the tick bite. These can include severe headaches, painful arthritis, swelling of the joints and heart and central nervous system problems.

Patients treated with antibiotics in the early stage of the infection usually recover rapidly and completely.

Not all ticks are infected with Lyme disease and your risk of Lyme disease is greatly reduced if the tick is removed within the first 36 hours, officials say.

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