Connecticut Nonprofit Warns Ticks Remain A “Serious” Threat This Fall

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Global Lyme Alliance says adult stage ticks can be active even in cooler weather, so don’t be caught off-guard

Enjoy beautiful fall days, but make sure you protect yourself from ticks.

Adult stage ticks remain active, bringing a continued, serious threat of tick-borne illnesses.

Although most people are concerned about ticks during the summer months, Global Lyme Alliance (GLA) says don’t let your guard down this fall.

“Even though autumn is here, adult stage ticks remain active, bringing a continued, serious threat of Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses,” says Robert Kobre, chairman of GLA, the nation’s leading Lyme and tick-borne disease nonprofit devoted to research and education. “We urge everyone who enjoys the great outdoors—whether hiking, biking, gardening or simply taking the dog out for a nice, long walk—to take steps to protect themselves from ticks.”

Adult stage ticks are active as long as the temperatures are above freezing and the ground is not frozen or covered by snow. A bite from a deer tick that transmits Lyme disease can leave individuals with a mix of symptoms that range from fatigue and flu-like aches and pains to serious and long-term complications that affect the brain, joints, heart and muscles.

In addition to Lyme, there is another tick-borne disease to be concerned about this fall. Babesiosis, an infection that invades and lives within red blood cells, has already been reported in 27 states and is expanding throughout Connecticut. “We’re seeing higher infection rates in ticks—almost 14 percent—and we’ll be seeing more human infections,” says Kirby C. Stafford III, Ph.D., chief scientist/state entomologist of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

Until about a decade ago, the most endemic areas for babesiosis in the Northeast were Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, eastern and south central Long Island, Shelter Island and the southeastern and coastal areas of Connecticut. Now, however, it has expanded into the northern and western parts of Connecticut.

The disease can affect individuals much like malaria, with high fever, severe headaches, chills and anemia. In patients with a complicating condition—such as a weakened immune system—the disease can be more severe, even fatal.

"Babesiosis is no joke,” says Dr. Stafford. “Patients and physicians need to be aware of the risks.”

To prevent Lyme, babesiosis and other tick-borne infections, GLA recommends that when working or playing outside in areas that ticks inhabit (tall grass and weeds, leaf litter, woods), you should:

-Wear light-colored clothes so ticks can be spotted easily.
-When hiking or biking, stay in the center of trails. Avoid sitting on the ground, fallen logs, piles of leaves, brush or overgrown grass at trail edges.
-Use tick repellents according to manufacturers’ directions on clothes, especially on the lower parts of trousers. Apply insect repellent with DEET, picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil to exposed skin.
-Throw your clothes into a dryer for 15 minutes on high heat when you come inside.
-Do a full-body check (especially thighs, groin, back of knees, around waistbands, underarms, neck and scalp) when you and family members return indoors.

If you find a tick, it's important to remove it safely. Use a fine-tipped tweezer to grab the tick “head” as close to the skin as possible and pull it out like a splinter. Don’t twist or jerk the tick because this can cause the tick’s mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. “Adult ticks have longer mouth-parts,” said Dr. Stafford. “So it can be a little harder to remove them. Don’t yank, just pull gently and firmly.”
Global Lyme Alliance, the leading tick-borne disease organization in the nation, is dedicated to Lyme and tick-borne disease research and education. The 501 (c)(3) is headquartered in Greenwich, CT. For more information go to or call 203- 969-1333.

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