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What you need to know about ticks amid a surge this season

Posted at 7:02 PM, Jun 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-11 20:02:09-04

While they may seem nearly microscopic, with just one bite some ticks are capable of passing along severe illnesses.

"You don't even know it's there until it's kind of like too late," says Sarah Jurkiewics, a dog owner that is particularly cautious when it comes to protecting her fur baby from ticks.

Leading researcher Dr. Susan Paskewitz has been studying ticks for the last 25 years. She says there are two commonly known ticks in Wisconsin to be aware of.

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The first being wood ticks, also known as dog ticks, that tend to bite pets. These insects are not severely harmful despite the itch they may cause.

"They're not really a source of concern, so if you get one of the dog ticks on you, I wouldn't be really worried about that," said Paskewitz.

However, deer ticks, on the other hand, carry at least seven different pathogens that can cause severe illness.

"In our state, we're usually like finding something like 15% to 20% of that particular stage of the deer tick that is infected with the Lyme Disease pathogen," said Paskewitz.

According to the CDC, Lyme Disease is a tick-borne illness that can lead to an array of symptoms including fever, headache, fatigue, and rashes. If untreated, the illness can infect different organs of the body.

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Paskewitz helped develop an app called the "Tick App" that works to inform and educate users regarding ticks by allowing them to send in pictures.

"Last year we had about 300 of these photographs that were submitted this year. We are up over 500 already," said Paskewitz.

She suggests everyone, after spending time outdoors, check all parts of their body.

"So looking over that very carefully and checking your kids too, because kids are high risk in Wisconsin for Lyme Disease," she said.

While there are many preventative measures, Dr. Paskewitz recently worked alongside Gov. Tony Evers to help pass legislation that would require signs informing people about Lyme Disease and insect repellent for sale at Wisconsin state parks.

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