Health experts warn Michiganders of higher spread of Lyme disease this year

“...because we’ve noticed a lot more ticks”
Health experts are warning Michiganders of a higher spread of Lyme disease this year
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 6:26 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It’s that time of year when ticks are out and are actively looking for a bloody meal -- at your expense.

“We’re at a point where we know we have lots of ticks -- we know it’s that season and so, we might as well alert the public about that,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail.

The warning comes at a time when the state of Michigan has started to see more ticks than normal.

“Sometimes we have years where we have worse years with ticks than others,” Vail said. “And I’m sure there’s probably a weather and water related reason.”

The Ingham County Health Officer said the warning is not just for any old tick, though. The black-legged, or Deer ticks, are causing issues with Lyme disease and they are starting to spread across Michigan.

“They usually have to be attached for 36 to 48 hours to transmit disease,” Vail said. “So sometimes people will trap them and get them tested but [experts] won’t test them if they are not a black-legged tick.”

Knowing where to expect ticks is helpful in preventing Lyme disease too. Ticks live in grassy, bushy, or wooded areas.

The most common signs of Lyme disease include flu-like symptoms. However, if Lyme disease is left untreated, symptoms could move to your joints, heart, or nervous system. Those problems can linger for years which is why experts are emphasizing prevention over treatment.

“Checking your clothing, using Permethrin on clothes, as well as Deet as a repellant in areas where you’re basically walking on trails and things like that,” said Vail.

Be sure to examine under your arms, in and around your ears, and the back of your knees because the black-legged tick may have found a new home -- on you.

Related: MSU professor helps develop app to track tick population

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