Thursday, April 10, 2014
 

 

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Spring means tick season

ALBANY – With some real spring weather finally here … temps near 70 in some places this weekend … New Yorkers are reminded to take precautions to prevent diseases that are transmitted by ticks as springtime weather arrives throughout the state.

“While New Yorker’s are out taking advantage of the spring weather, it is important to ensure safety remains a top priority,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “New Yorkers of all ages should take a few moments to educate themselves about the health risks associated with tick bites and take proper precautions to protect themselves from them."

Lyme disease is caused by the bite of an infected deer tick. Ticks are active when the weather stays above freezing, usually from April through November. The time of greatest concern is in late spring and early summer when nymphal ticks are active. In the nymphal stage of life, deer ticks are small (about the size of a poppy seed) and difficult to see. Nymphal deer ticks are responsible for the majority of Lyme disease cases. In tick-infested areas, any contact with vegetation, even playing in a well-manicured yard, can result in exposure to ticks.

While this past winter was unusually harsh, the abundant and long-lasting snow cover likely provided insulation to allow ticks to survive the winter. Deer ticks, carriers of at least four different pathogens, are starting to emerge and will be present for the next several months across the state.

“The good news is that Lyme and other tick-borne diseases are preventable by taking simple precautions such as wearing light colored clothing, tucking pants into socks and doing a tick check after being in wooded or grassy areas,” State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., said.