As Tick Population Soars, State Warns: "Assume That You're Going To Pick Them Up"
Officials say Connecticut is experiencing an "extraordinary" season for ticks. Nearly 40 percent of more than 1,000 ticks tested so far were positive for the bacteria causing Lyme disease.
Theodore Andreadis is director of The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Speaking on WNPR's Where We Live, he said the large tick numbers are because of to two things.
"One is the mild winters that we have been experiencing. I think that has resulted in higher over-wintering survival of the ticks, which are in the leaf litter," Andreadis said. "Secondly, we've seen a significant increase in the number of small rodents -- specifically the white-footed mouse, which serves as the primary host for the larval stage of this tick."
When hiking, Andreadis said to tuck your pants into your socks to avoid getting ticks, and always do a tick check on yourself, your children, and your pets after coming in from outside.
"You should just assume that you're going to pick them up," Andreadis said. "Most people pick up these ticks in and around the home -- the areas of highest risk are generally at the border between your manicured lawns -- and as you move into the wooded forest area."
If you can remove an infected tick within 48 to 72 hours, Andreadis said the likelihood of Lyme infection is greatly reduced.