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Environment & Science
4:37 pm
Thu July 4, 2013

This holiday weekend, be on guard against ticks and mosquitoes

A lone star tick
Credit CDC

  If you’re doing anything outdoors this holiday weekend—from camping to gardening in the backyard—you should be on the lookout for ticks and mosquitoes.

Public health officials warn that tick populations are booming throughout the state this season.

“We’ve seen a lot of tick activity increase in the last couple of weeks,” says Angela Minicuci, Public Information Officer with the Michigan Department of Community Health.

Whether you’re in a grassy area like a park or out in the woods, ticks can be hanging around. There are two key ways to guard against them.

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3:57 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Lyme-Infested Ticks In Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore

Lead in text: 
Interlochen Public Radio reports that vacationers heading up to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore should be on the lookout for ticks this year, as some could be infected with the Lyme parasite.
For the first time, Lyme-infested ticks have been found at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The risk is highest at North Manitou Island, where almost half of the nearly 200 black-legged ticks were infected with the Lyme parasite, according to a Michigan Department of Community Health report.
Environment & Science
12:05 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Blacklegged tick population booms along west Michigan shoreline

Blacklegged ticks are increasing in Michigan, especially in counties along the western shoreline.
CDC

Blacklegged ticks – formerly known as deer ticks - are historically rare in the Lower Peninsula. But over the past decade, that’s been changing. The tick population is booming along the west Michigan shoreline.

Erik Foster is a medical entomologist with the Michigan Department of Community Health. He’s been studying the tick population as it’s been moving north.

“It’s been so rapid, anecdotal reports say within the last five years of these ticks moving in and just really flourishing. Because of the habitat, and because of the amount of hosts they have to feed on.”

He says the Lake Michigan shoreline is a good habitat for ticks.

Foster says because the winter was so mild, more mice and chipmunks survived. Those animals are hosts for ticks, and that means more ticks made it through the winter too.

He says deer and birds are also hosts for ticks, and they're transporting the insects north.

Foster says blacklegged ticks can transmit Lyme disease. He recommends wearing insect repellant that contains DEET and checking yourself and your pets for ticks after you walk in tall grass or in the woods.

You can learn more about ticks in this document from the state of Michigan: Ticks and Your Health.

Environment & Science
1:01 am
Sun May 27, 2012

If you plan on walking in the woods this weekend, watch out for ticks

A Black Legged Tick
(Michael Levin, Centers for Disease Control)

Tens of thousands of Michiganders will spend this holiday weekend camping or just going for a long walk in the woods.   But state health officials are warning that you may come into contact with ticks.

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Health
11:30 am
Fri February 3, 2012

Map shows southwest Michigan as an "emerging risk" for Lyme disease

Researchers created detailed maps showing the spread of the tick responsible for the spread of Lyme disease.
The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Lyme disease is spread through blacklegged tick bites, and its prevalence has most notably been in the eastern U.S. and southeastern Canada.

The CDC reports that if the disease is left untreated, the "infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system."

Researchers say incidence rates of the disease have steadily increased as the ticks, and the bacterium they can carry which causes the disease, expand their range.

Now researchers from Michigan State University, the Yale School of Public Health, and many other institutions have mapped the risk areas for Lyme disease.

The researchers say their map provides a baseline for tracking the spread of Lyme disease:

This risk map can assist in surveillance and control programs by identifying regions where human cases are expected and may assist treatment decisions such as the use of antimicrobial prophylaxis following a tick bite.

The map show high risk areas in the northeast, and Wisconsin and Minnesota - and a potential emerging risk spot in southwest Michigan.

More from the Associated Press:

Researchers who dragged sheets of fabric through the woods to snag ticks have created a detailed map pinpointing the highest-risk areas for Lyme disease.

The map shows a clear risk across much of the Northeast, from Maine to northern Virginia. Researchers at Yale University also identified a high-risk region across most of Wisconsin, northern Minnesota and a sliver of northern Illinois. Areas highlighted as "emerging risk" regions include the Illinois-Indiana border, the New York-Vermont border, southwestern Michigan and eastern North Dakota.

The map was published this week based on data from 2004-2007. Researchers say the picture might have changed since then in the emerging areas, but the map is still useful because it highlights areas where tick surveillance should be increased and can serve as a baseline for future research.