Health Notes: Tick … tick … tick … they're backOh, great. We’ve barely started reveling in an early spring when the killjoys at the Minnesota Department of Health start talking about ticks.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
We’ve barely started reveling in an early spring when the killjoys at the Minnesota Department of Health start talking about ticks.
“Unfortunately, a mild winter and warm March weather this year hastened the beginning of the season for tick exposure,” said Dave Neitzel, an epidemiologist for the health department who specializes in tick-borne diseases, in a news release.
“This early start to the tick season could lead to a longer than usual risk season in 2012, potentially worsening Minnesota’s troubling trend of marked increases in numbers of Lyme disease and other tick-borne disease cases,” he said.
Early melting of a limited snow cover and recent warm conditions allowed deer ticks, officially known as blacklegged ticks, to begin feeding across the state’s forested regions, the news release said. These ticks carry an array of diseases. You know about Lyme disease, but their arsenal also includes human anaplasmosis, babesiosi, Powassan disease and a new form of human ehrlichiosis, the news release said.
Between 1,000 and 2,000 cases of these diseases have been reported to the health department annually through the past decade, and the numbers have been growing.
Moreover, American dog ticks — more commonly known as wood ticks — are common in Minnesota in spring and early summer. They can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which is more common in the South but has occurred in Minnesota.
Deer ticks hang out in woody or brushy area and wood ticks in grassy or wooded areas, the news release said. If you’re going to be in these habitats during warm-weather months, repellants are recommended.
Much more information is available at the health department’s website. Click on “Ticks” near the top of the page.