NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Many of us have been enjoying the warmer weather outside, but these warmer days mean it is especially important to watch out for ticks. Scientists believe this year will be an especially bad one.
This past winter was a mild one, but when winter temperatures increase, the tick population typically does too.
Scientists at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station are already seeing that. They receive ticks that need to be tested.
“This month we have received over 360 ticks for testing,” said Dr. Goudarz Molaei, a research scientist at the CAES who oversees the tick testing program. “This is unusually high.”
Last month the lab received nearly 500 ticks. Typically, it gets one to two dozen. Scientists are also seeing higher disease rates among ticks.
“This year so far in one month the prevalence of infection or the infection rate has been 38 percent,” said Molaei.
Ticks carry diseases like Powassan virus and Lyme Disease.
The CAES will be getting more than $3 million, its share of a federal grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The money will to go towards monitoring diseases like those. Senator Richard Blumenthal stopped the CAES on Thursday morning.
“Lyme is a severe, surging public health threat and we need stronger measures to counter it,” Blumenthal said.
There are steps you can take to protect yourself from ticks.
“Immediately after outdoor activities they have to inspect their clothing,” said Molaei.
Wash and dry your clothes on high heat after spending time outside. Always check yourself for ticks, even if you have just been in your yard. Experts also recommend wearing repellant to keep ticks away.