- Associated Press - Thursday, May 28, 2015

BARRE, Vt. (AP) - State health officials are urging Vermont residents to be vigilant in what they expect to be another active season for disease-carrying ticks, as reports of Lyme disease have steadily increased.

Forest protection entomologist Trish Hanson from the state Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation told the Times-Argus (https://bit.ly/1ckQAsM ) people don’t realize that Vermont has 16 species of ticks. Only deer ticks can transmit Lyme disease- a bacterial infection -to humans.

Erica Berl, an infectious disease epidemiologist from the Vermont Department of Health, said the prevalence of Lyme disease heavily depends on how well the deer ticks that transmit the disease survive the winter. Deer ticks have a two-year life cycle and can make it through cold months.

“It doesn’t matter how bad the winter is, there’s always going to be enough ticks to mean that people will get Lyme disease, and people need to protect themselves,” she said.

Game warden Robert Sterling from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said that, in general, the northern parts of Vermont have been seeing an increase in ticks, while people in southern parts of the state are used to seeing a lot of ticks.

“Now regularly (in New Haven) coming in from the woods, I’ll see a tick on my clothes and it’s not even a surprise anymore,” he said.

Sterling suggested doing daily tick checks, keeping grass short in yards and wearing light-colored clothing in the woods because it makes it easier to see ticks.

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Information from: The Times Argus, https://www.timesargus.com/

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