The threat of so many diseases carried by ticks is scary, it seems every year as soon as summer hits all the news stations, papers, and news sites have another horror story of the various diseases that are threatening us this year transmitted via ticks. So, with all these stories and news alerts which ones should we in Connecticut be worried about? I will dive into this question and others in this month’s blog, in hopes to shed some light on the often confusing and always scary stories we hear from the media.

    Which ticks are in New England?
  • Black-legged Tick also known as the Deer Tick
  • American Dog Tick
  • Lone Star Tick
    What diseases are these ticks known to transmit?
  • Black-legged Tick: Lyme Disease, Human Babesiosis, Human Anaplasmosis, Flavivirus, Powassan Virus
  • American Dog Tick: Rock Mountain Spotted Fever (rare), Tularemia (rare)
  • Lone Star Tick: Human Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia

Both the Black-legged Tick and American Dog Tick are the more common of the three here in Connecticut, and of the two the Black-legged Tick is of the most concern. Each year ticks are collected and tested in the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station to determine infection percentile. In 2018 they found that 1 in every 2 tested positive for Lyme Disease. That is a 28% climb from last year and significantly higher than past years. So, what is the cause of this uptick? Experts say it is due to the warmer weather and milder winters thus allowing for greater numbers of ticks to survive, as opposed to the previously more treacherous winters in times past. More overwintering ticks means greater numbers of ticks means greater chance for them to become infected from their hosts, namely the white footed deer mouse, and deer. Once infected with these pathogens they can transmit them to humans.

Bottom Line?

Use every precaution to avoid getting ticks on you, if enjoying summer activities that put you in areas prone to ticks, do a “tick check” at the end of the outing and if found on your person, remove it immediately. If you think you may have been exposed to a tick that could transmit one of these pathogens, go get tested. You can also send specimens in for examination and pathogen testing. Getting your property treated professionally can drastically reduce the amount of ticks in your yard and property line, with numbers of 90%-95% fewer ticks it is well worth the cost for treatment.

I have provided links to the state website with PDF Format pamphlets for information on Ticks in Connecticut, Tick Prevention, Tick Treatment, Disease Transmission, and other Tick related information. Click below to open them in a new window. Stay safe and enjoy your summer!

http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/publications/fact_sheets/entomology/american_dog_tick_fs.pdf http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/publications/fact_sheets/entomology/repellent_fact_sheet_new_format_2015.pdf http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/publications/fact_sheets/entomology/deer_&_ticks_fact_sheet.pdf http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/tick_testing/tick_summary_2017.pdf