Connecticut officials bracing for bad year for ticks

FILE - This is a March 2002 file photo of a deer tick under a microscope in the entomology lab at the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, R.I. Researchers focused on ticks and the debilitating diseases they spread say the heavy snow that blanketed the Northeast this winter was like a cozy quilt for baby blacklegged ticks that are now questing for blood as the weather warms up. (AP Photo/Victoria Arocho, File)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — State officials say they’ve seen an increase in the number of ticks this year, including those carrying diseases.

The Connecticut Post reports (http://bit.ly/2mEnu1L ) that more than 200 ticks have been submitted for testing to the state’s Agricultural Experiment Station in March, compared to 14 in March 2015. Officials say the number of ticks testing positive for the bacterium that cause Lyme disease is also higher than usual.

Experts blame a warm winter and a large population of white-footed mice, which can carry the Lyme disease bacterium and spread it to ticks.

The bacterium is transmitted to humans through tick bites and can cause serious health problem if left untreated.

Health officials say to wear insect repellent and to be vigilant about checking for ticks after spending time outdoors this spring.

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