The arrival of the black-legged tick season urged authorities to encourage the U.S. population to take some precautions against the insect that can carry life-threatening diseases. The tick population, particularly in Minnesota, has shown a dramatic increase which could lead to more infected people by the end of the season.
Deer ticks are known to be a vector for Lyme disease, more than 300,000 people in the U.S. suffer from the infection each year, and as the population of ticks keeps growing, the infected ones will continue to peek as well.
“It is that time of year,” commented Dave Neitzel, supervisor of the vector-borne disease unit at the Minnesota Department of Health in St. Paul, to StarTribune. “The bottom line is this: If you are in a woodsy, brushy area, you are at risk,” he added.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which compared tick’s population data from 1996 to 2015, last year black-legged ticks were present in 1,531 of the nation’s counties in 43 states. In 1996, they were only present in 1,058 counties in 41 states.
In Minnesota, 45 of its 87 counties reported last year black-legged tick populations, when previous studies from 1996 had reported only nine counties with the insect’s presence. The increase is also attached to the weather, during periods of humidity they become more active.
For the infected ones, the media number of the Lyme disease cases from 1996 to 2005 was 464, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The media for 2006 to 2014 increased to 1,065. Data from 2015 is not yet available.
Beware of the when and where
Lyme disease can only be transmitted to humans through an infected black-legged tick, and it is one of the most tick-borne illness in the U.S and Canada. The initial symptoms can be mistaken for common flu, but if it is left untreated it can progress to its secondary level where the symptoms include heart, joint and nervous system disorders, as reported by Queen’s Gazette.
The ticks are most active during their nymphal or immature stage that can go from mid-May to mid-July, according to Neitzel. These times represent the highest risk for infection if the person is in their territory.
Neitzel recommended to beware of the insect in woody areas that can provide the humidity the ticks need to survive and thrive. This kind of outdoor places are the heart of the risk area, he said. In this activities is important to use light-colored clothes and repellent that can reduce exposure to the insects.
Source: Star Tribune