Tick borne diseases on the rise, as health officials issue warning

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 7:10 PM CDT
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SHERWOOD, Wis. (WBAY) - As many people head outside this summer, health officials are also reporting an increase in tick borne diseases, some of which are leading to hospitalizations.

They’re extremely tiny and often hard to escape from, but deer ticks are more abundant than ever this summer, especially at places like High Cliff State Park near Sherwood, where there’s plenty of trees and tall grass.

“Whenever we look at nationwide data for ticks and tick borne illnesses, Wisconsin is always close to the top,” said Dr. Joseph McBride, UW Health Infectious Disease Specialist.

In Door County there’s not only been a spike in cases, but also hospitalizations, prompting the health department to issue a warning over social media.

“When we’re talking tick borne illnesses, it’s not just Lyme that’s the most common one people hear about, but also Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, and there’s a couple other tick borne illnesses,” added Rachael Jandrin, a nurse for Door Co. Public Health.

Common symptoms, you might problem include fever, muscle aches, and with Lyme Disease, a bullseye rash at the site of the bite.

Warnings about ticks have been posted throughout the park. There’s also information about how to lesson your chances of being bit, which include wearing in insect repellent with at least twenty percent deet.

Jandrin added, “The best thing you can do is stick to cut paths, like if your going hiking or something. Don’t rub up against brush or go thru tall grassy areas, try to stick to the middle of paths.”

As for why we’re seeing ticks, Dr. McBride had this explanation.

“A lot of this is due to people’s outdoor activities but also with some of the warming that we’re seeing. The seasonality of ticks is increasing throughout the year so tick season will start a little bit earlier and end later than it had been 20 or 30 years ago,” he said.

Tick season officially runs thru the end of fall, but activity does die down as the weather gets cooler.

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