Tick Season Winding Down After Intense Spring, Early Summer

Earlier this summer, the state testing lab was backlogged for weeks because of the number tick submissions.

Amy Guertin, of Norwich, knows she hasn’t finished a walk at Bluff Point State Park without checking her dog for ticks.

“I would find five to 10 every time we went for a walk if it was woodsy. Crawling on (my dog),” Guertin said.

Despite having the vaccination, her dog had Lyme disease last year and she’s seen even more ticks this year.

“I don’t notice them as much in the heat,” Guertin said.

State Entomologist Kirby Stafford said via email that the tick season is winding down as nymphal numbers decline. But it’s been a whirlwind of a spring and summer. The tick testing lab was backed up from early April to late June, Stafford said, adding they normally receive around 3,000 ticks each year. The total for this year will probably double that, he added.

The infection rate was slightly higher this year in comparison to the average of the last decade, according to Stafford.

That’s why Brianna Dunn, of New London, checks her daughter every time she’s outside and lathers her in bug spray.

“She likes to run around a lot and you never know. So we just check her before we put her in the bath before we get home,” Dunn said.

“I saw a child who had part of a classic Lyme rash extending below the ear,” Dr. Joseph Newell, of Gold Star Pediatrics in Groton, said.

But that’s really the only Lyme disease-related case he’s seen this year. Newell said he and his colleagues have seen maybe 20 percent more tick-related cases last year compared to this year. He attributes that to better awareness.

Russell Melmed, an epidemiologist with Ledge Light Health District, said he can confirm they’ve seen cases of three different tick-borne diseases. But he has to wait for the tick season to end before they can get a final tally and compare it to last year’s numbers.

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