While spending time social distancing outside, watch for ticks


(WIVB) – We might be social distancing this spring, but ticks are not.

Cornell University is warning people to be aware of ticks as they spend time outdoors this season.

A bacterial infection that causes Lyme disease is the most important tickborne human infection in the U.S., with around 200-300,000 reported cases per year, Laura Harrington, Cornell University entomology professor and Director of the CDC Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases (NEVBD) warns.

Lyme disease is most often carried by the blacklegged or “deer” tick, which is most common in forested areas and shaded trail edges with leaf litter and shrubby plants.

“ For Lyme Disease, time is on your side,” Harrington said. “It usually takes 24-48 hours after the tick has attached and started feeding before it can transmit Lyme bacteria.”

Harrrington says to check yourself periodically for attached ticks even when you are still outside.

“Personal protection measures are important to consider before going outside,” Harrington adds. “You should wear repellent, light-colored clothing and tuck your pantlegs into your socks. You can also treat your clothing with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated clothing.”

Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.

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