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Dangerous Ticks are Present Year-Round

With the warming temperatures, ticks are coming out to feed and spread disease. Nicole Chinnici, MS, CWFS, a forensic scientist and laboratory director at Northeast Wildlife DNA Lab at East Stroudsburg University, explains, “Observations in recent years showed short winters with a mild December and March had no effect on the survival of ticks. Snow cover is a golden ticket for ticks. It creates a blanket of moisture to incubate them under the leaf litter.”

Ticks in Pennsylvania are carrying more infections beyond Lyme disease as well, which puts anyone that goes outdoor at risk. Chinnici’s lab and others have detected ticks in the state carrying at least eight other infections, including Anaplasmosis, bartonellosis, babesiosis, borrelia miyamotoi, mycoplasma and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. When detected early, these infections can be effectively treated. Left untreated, the diseases can spread to the nervous system and affect multiple body systems and organs, including the brain stem, heart, gastrointestinal tract, joints, muscles and more.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness month, and PA Lyme Resource Network advises that everyone take simple prevention tips to protect themselves and their pets. Just as we put on sunscreen to protect ourselves from damaging sun rays, it’s just as easy to spray tick repellant before venturing out into the grass.

There’s a 50-50 rule—50 percent of people do not recall a tick and 50 percent do not recall a bulls-eye rash. So if those that have been outdoors experience sudden symptoms, test for Lyme disease. If it’s the hallmark bulls-eye rash, this is positive sign of infection, and they will need to see a doctor right away for treatment. Remember, prevention is key.

To learn more about repellant options for the skin and clothing, download a prevention brochure and a tick identification card at palyme.org/dare-2B-tick-aware.html.

Tina Prins is vice president of the nonprofit PA Lyme Resource Network, For more information, , visit PALyme.org.

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