2021 could be bad year for ticks and tick-borne illnesses, experts say

Shirley P. Olin

The mild winter across the country, heavy spring rains, and hot summer temperatures are creating perfect conditions for ticks, experts say.

This means hikers and campers, excited to get outside after the last year of the pandemic, should be extra cautious as they head out to the trails and forests this summer.

“Warm, wet weather will allow the pest to persist and even pop up in places where they’re not usually found,” Weather Channel meteorologist Domenica Davis said.

The danger to humans is when a bacteria-carrying tick bites. While Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease, there are others.

The CDC reports about 30,000 reported cases of Lyme disease each year, but the agency admits the actual number of cases is likely much higher, possibly 10 times as many.

Ticks are normally found in wooded, forested areas, and like to cling to tall grasses. They can also hitch a ride with squirrels and other small animals who are more active in the spring and summer.

A recent study has also found more bacteria-carrying ticks than expected in the grassy areas near California’s beaches.

To avoid ticks, wear clothing that covers arms and legs and use an insect repellent that contains DEET.

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