Tick-Borne Lyme Disease on The Rise for 2020

Deer standing in a field.

Deer standing in a field.

Warm weather is on its way, for some, it’s already here, and with it comes a small common parasite. The tick has been hitching rides on your friendly neighborhood mammals (deer) and has now spread to more places than ever. All but three of the Continental United States have been listed for “high” activity on the national TickEncounter Index.

Blood Sucking Parasites

Thomas Mather, a University of Rhode Island entomologist, known as “The Tick Guy,” says that there is a “hidden threat” infiltrating our communities- the blood-sucking tick. Mather blames the increase of ticks on the increase of deer in the past few years. Before the 20th-century deer were dwindling and conservationists worked hard to bring them back. Now the deer population surpasses 30 million [1] and deer can easily be spotted trotting through the yard and with the deer comes the blood-sucking parasites.

Deer are continually expanding in numbers, and with their growth they creep closer and closer to where humans live, infesting the grass with various types of ticks. “The phenomena of deer in more places and in ever-increasing proximity to people is, I think, the largest factor affecting the ticks-in-more-places trend,” said Mather when asked about the phenomenon of ticks spawning in the U.S. “The more commonly you see deer in your area, the more likely it is you’re going to see ticks.” [2]

Since 2004 tick born disease cases have more than doubled with Lyme disease making up over 80% of all cases. Disease centers estimate that the number of people who are infected with tick-carried Lyme disease in 2020 will be almost 2 million. [3]

DeNicola is president of White Buffalo, a Connecticut-based nonprofit dispatched to cull deer herds says that too often people view deer as a friendly Bambi and not as the health threat that drops disease-ridden ticks at your door. Efficiently managing your property will help cut back on deer and, in the long run, ticks. “We have the tools to kill deer, but you have to train the hunter to not think as a recreationalist but as a manager,” DeNicola said.

Tips and Tricks

To keep the number of ticks in your yard down use these tips.

Keep the Deer Out

Keeping deer and mice off your lawn will cut down on the number of ticks climbing on your property and mice is where ticks become infected.

Clean Up

Keep your yard clean to discourage mice from housing on your lawn. Clean around any sheds, woodpiles, or enclosed spaces that are comfy for mice. Invest in deer repellent or deer fencing to keep the deer out as well.

Tick Repellent

Invest in some tick repellent to easily prevent finding ticks on you. Whether or not you use tick repellant, you should check yourself for ticks after going outside.

 

 


Notes:

  1. ^The Decline of Deer Populations – Deer Friendly.” 7 May. 2019, www.deerfriendly.com/decline-of-deer-populations. (go back↩)
  2. ^Hafner, Josh. “Those deer on your lawn? They’re delivering disease-ridden ticks to your doorstep.” USA TODAY, 7 May. 2019, www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/05/07/deer-multiply-us-carrying-ticks-lyme-disease-and-more/1126591001. (go back↩)
  3. ^DeLong, Allison, et al. “Estimation of the cumulative number of post-treatment Lyme disease cases in the US, 2016 and 2020.” BMC Public Health, vol. 19, no. 1, Dec. 2019, p. 352, doi:10.1186/s12889-019-6681-9. (go back↩)

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