Bad year for ticks could bring jump in Lyme disease cases

- Connecticut state officials say they've seen an increase in the number of ticks this year, including those carrying diseases like the bacterium responsible for Lyme disease.

The state says that they have received more than 450 tickets for testing already this year and 38% have tested positive for Lyme disease spirochetes.  Another 10% have texted for the agent that causes babesiosis and another 5%.for the cause of granulocytic anaplasmosis.

They say the higher tick abundance appears to be related to warmer winter temperatures in the state during the past two years.

The bacterium responsible for Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through tick bites and can cause serious chronic health problem if left untreated.

Agricultural Experiment Station director Dr. Theodore Andreadis says, Although we have yet to reach peak tick activity this spring, adult deer ticks are already active and biting residents in greater numbers."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease affects an estimated 329,000 people in the U.S. each year and can cause severe damage to joints and the nervous system.

There is much controversy in the heath care field about classifying Lyme disease related injuries and what health insurance companies are responsible for covering.

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

RELATED:  LYME DISEASE COVERAGE FROM FOX 5

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