What to know about tick, Lyme season following a mild winter

Scientists are waiting to see if there will be an increase in hurricanes this year after a mild winter in the U.S.

What to know about tick, Lyme season following a mild winter

PORTLAND (AP) - After a mild U.S. winter, will ticks be more prevalent this year?

Researchers say that it's hard to predict the outcome of tick season. Scientists said that this year's mild winter, early snow melting, and increased tick population could lead to more ticks than usual, and an increase in Lyme disease, and other tick-borne illnesses.

Goudarz Molaei, an expert on ticks for Connecticut, says that ticks have been more prevalent in the state this year. More than 700 ticks were sent for testing, which would normally have received 200-300 by now. Lyme disease is a common problem in Connecticut.

Molaei stated that tick activity would be above average.

What diseases do ticks spread?

Infected ticks can spread bacteria, viruses, and parasites which make people sick. In the United States, Lyme disease is most prevalent in the Northeast and Midwest. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 476,000 Americans are affected by Lyme disease every year. Deer ticks or black-legged ticks can spread more than just Lyme bacteria. These ticks can spread anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan viruses. The lone-star tick is mainly found in the southern, eastern, and midwestern United States. It can transmit ehrlichiosis, and Heartland virus. Rocky Mountain spotted disease can be spread by American dog ticks. By biting rodents or other infected animals, ticks can pick up germs that cause disease.

When is tick season?

The tick season varies from region to region, but generally it lasts between April and October. Ticks remain dormant in the winter and become active as temperatures increase. They can also be active during warm winter days. Memorial Day is usually considered the beginning of the season, but this is largely due to the fact that people who live in colder climates start spending more outdoor time. Sam Telford, of Tufts University’s school of veterinary medical in North Grafton in Massachusetts, explained that. In June, July, and August are the months when Lyme disease is most prevalent. April and May tend to be lighter months.

Dr. Bobbi Prritt, who studies tickborne diseases at Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota, says that tiny ticks in the nymphal stage, about the size and shape of a poppy seed, could be active as early as this year. Pritt stated that when we have milder winters we expect ticks to be more active and bite humans earlier.

What makes a bad season?

The government disease trackers admit that predicting the future of tick-borne diseases is difficult. The number of ticks varies from one region to another, and the diagnosis can be affected depending on how different doctors test for and report cases. Telford explained that the changing climate can have both positive and adverse effects on ticks. Warm, wet weather benefits them but hot weather does not. Telford said that tiny ticks may indeed be active in the early spring, but a hot, dry summer could also kill them. It is best to assume that ticks are going to be active. He said that every year should be regarded as a tick-filled year.


There are many reasons to be thankful

There are many ways to avoid tick bites

The CDC recommends treating clothes with products containing 0.5% perfluorin. In areas with ticks, like grassy or wooded areas, it's important to take extra precautions. The CDC also stresses the importance of using repellents, and performing thorough checks afterwards. Avoiding bites is also possible by limiting the amount of exposed skin.

This disease can lead to a high fever, fatigue, and pain in the muscles and joints. Most people recover after taking antibiotics. Untreated, the condition can worsen and cause heart problems, debilitating pain, and other symptoms. In the U.S., there is currently no Lyme disease vaccine available for humans. However, one is under testing.

This report was contributed by AP journalist Mike Stobbe from New York, and Camille Fassett, a data journalist in Seattle.

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