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Tick-borne illnesses increase on local news



Just one thing about the warnings of the social media about ticks in 2018 is disturbing Joplin's health director Dan Pekarek: The contributions are limited to this year.

"We want to warn people every year about tick-borne diseases," Pekarek said. "Honestly, we do not know if this year will get any worse, but we recommend to warn about it every year."

While news articles and social media posts suggest that this year may be a "throb", what is certain is that the number of tick-borne diseases has tripled since 2004, a recent statement said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report said nine new germs were discovered or introduced during this period, including the Bourbon virus, named after a resident of Bourbon County, Kansas, who was first identified with him. The numbers of the CDC also included diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and fleas.

While Lyme disease is the most commonly tick-borne disease, Pekarek said that the Joplin region typically sees Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis. Two cases of tick-borne diseases have been reported in Joplin so far this year. Thirteen such cases were reported in 201

7, he said.

"Some of the increased numbers may be due to better diagnosis and identification," Pekarek said. "But with the trends over time, we've seen an increase."

A mild winter and warmer spring could mean that a higher number of ticks could be seen, according to a statement from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Missouri already has a large number of ticks, according to the report.

Published on May 1, the CDC report and the aftermath of a difficult flu season prompted the department to issue a new warning to prevent tick bites, Randall Williams said. Director of the Department, in a News Release

"As with the flu, we noted in October that it could be a difficult year with high rates of flu and potentially serious stress and encouraged everyone to get a flu shot," said Williams , "Unfortunately, we had a very tough flu season."

Social media posts warning of a "tick explosion" have lost some weight in recent years due to the weather, said Robbie Doerhoff, an entomologist at the Missouri Department of Conservation. Anecdotally she has already withdrawn more ticks from her dogs than usual.

"If we have damp, warm and humid springs, we will end up with high numbers of ticks around two years later," Doerhoff said. "We had them in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, so we built. The conditions were favorable."

Other factors leading to higher numbers of ticks are increased glans production and higher survival rates for deer, turkeys and rodents. According to Dörhoff, the department does not track the number of ticks as it does insects such as Japanese beetles, so it is currently not possible to increase it. Protect Yourself

Health experts recommend taking steps to prevent the spread of tick-borne diseases:

• If you're outside, use an insect repellent that has been registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services recommends finding a repellent containing at least 20 percent DEET, picaridine, or IR3535.

• Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when working in the ticks' natural habitats. Or even better: avoid these areas completely.

• Make sure your pets are treated for ticks and check them daily. If found, remove them.

• Keep lawn mowed and keep shrubs and trees trimmed. Removal of leaves, woodpiles, fallen branches and other debris from farms.

If a tick is found and attached to a family member or pet:

• Remove with tweezers: With close mouth and as close to the skin as possible, then tighten and straighten it without jerking or to twist.

• Do not use matches, alcohol, liquid soap or vaseline

• Wash your hands and bite with soap and water after it has been removed, then apply an antiseptic to the bite.


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