More Ticks — And Increased Potential For Lyme Disease — Expected This Summer

(CBS) – An uptick in the number of ticks is expected this summer, and that means a greater chance of being exposed to Lyme disease.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports.

“The alarm bells have been ringing. We’ve known there is going to be a large amount of ticks in 2017,” says Allen Lawrance of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

The black legged tick in particular can spread the disease, and the origin trail leads straight to your nearest oak tree.

Scientists say milder winters created the capacity for more acorns in 2015; two years later, that has led to more food for small mice. The mice are feeding grounds for ticks.

“You get a lot more mice in the year following the acorns and then you get a lot more ticks following the mice,” Lawrance says.

Thick wooded areas and grassy prairies are prime spots to encounter ticks. If they attach to your skin and interact with your body, they can pass on Lyme disease.

Mild signs of Lyme disease can include a rash, flulike symptoms and muscle and joint pain that can be treated with antibiotics. More advanced infections can lead to arthritis, brain inflammation and nerve pain.

Lawrance advises showering when coming back from a nature walk, and examining oneself for ticks.

“The good news is if you find them within 24 hours they wouldn’t have enough time to start feeding so they couldn’t transmit Lyme disease.”

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