Ticks can carry a variety of germs, including the microbes that cause Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other diseases such as ehrlichiosis and tularemia. That's why it's important to remove the tick and clean the area as soon as you discover the problem. (Even if the tick is infected, removing it in the first 24 hours greatly reduces the chances that it will transmit Lyme disease.)

After you remove a tick, keep an eye on your baby. If he seems ill or develops a rash or fever during the following two weeks, call his doctor. Fortunately, tick-borne illnesses are uncommon, especially in babies, and when detected early, they can be treated effectively with antibiotics.

Keep in mind that while ticks are found across the country, very few of them are infected with Lyme disease in most locations. Currently, 12 states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin) account for 95 percent of Lyme disease cases in the country. (Interestingly, one recent report shows that small wooded suburban or rural home sites in the Northeast have three times the number of ticks and seven times as many infected ticks as larger patches of land.)

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