Connecticut’s tick population is increasing this season, due to a variety of factors that include shorter and warmer winters and longer and wetter springs and summers, experts say.
The state counted more than double the number of ticks through April 30 than it did last year, the New Haven Register reported Sunday.
“This is when they come,” Dr. Zane Saul, chief of infectious diseases at Bridgeport Hospital told the newspaper. “They start late April/early May. The ticks are out there and people are starting to do lawn work and work in the garden.”
The increase includes some new species, including the Lone Star tick, Asian longhorned tick and Gulf Coast tick. These newer ticks can transmit a variety of illnesses and cause other medical conditions; the Lone Star tick has been found to cause a meat allergy in some people, according to Goudarz Molaei, research scientist and director of the passive tick surveillance program at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
Adding to the challenge is that tick-borne illnesses can have symptoms resembling those of COVID-19, leading to some confusion over the source of the symptoms.
Ticks are parasitic insects that feed on humans and other species and carry a variety of illnesses, including Lyme disease, that can cause fever, headaches and body aches.
Experts urge people working or spending extended periods of time outdoors to check for ticks, remove them carefully and submit them to the state.