Erie County Health Officials Concerned About Lyme Disease

Increased tick population a worry because of mild winter

Tom Puckett
May 30, 2017 - 4:00 am
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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) As the summer kicks off, those who enjoy the outdoors have extra reason to be wary of ticks and the threat of Lyme Disease. 

"We worry because the winter was so mild and spring got off to an early start that insects like ticks will have more time to reproduce and so we'll see a larger population of ticks and other wildlife than we usually see over the summer," warns Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein. "With a higher number of ticks, we have to worry about more cases of tick borne illnesses including Lyme Disease in our community."

Burstein says the spring is a more difficult time to see the ticks. "Now when they reproduce they have these nymphs, which are like poppyseeds so it's not the larger ticks we're used to seeing in the summer and early fall," notes Burstein. But she says not all ticks carry Lyme Disease and not all ticks that can carry it have the disease.

Burstein says about 50 percent of those who have Lyme Disease have a bullseye rash. Other symptoms include fever, headache, weakness, muscle and joint pain.

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