The Ogle County Health Department has investigated three cases of Lyme disease since the month of February and is urging the public to educate themselves on the potential threats associated with tick bites.

Black-legged ticks (or deer ticks) are the primary carriers of Lyme disease, which can become a very serious condition. Typical symptoms consist of chills and fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and skin rashes.

If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to complications with the heart and nervous system.

If diagnosed early, several antibiotics can be used to treat Lyme disease. Patients treated in the later stages respond well to antibiotics but have an increased chance of permanent damage to the joints or nervous system.

The following tips can help prevent getting bit from an infected tick:

* Avoid wooded and brushy area with high grass and leaf litter.

* Walk in the center of trails.

* Use repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or 2-undecanone.

* Use clothing treated with permethrin.