A Perfect Storm — More Infected Ticks in More Places Citizen-scientists submitted blacklegged ticks — the kind that can carry Lyme disease — in 83 counties where they’d never previously been recorded.

By Lonnie Marcum

I n 2015, the Entomological Society of America (ESA) published its “Position Statement on Tick-Borne Diseases.” The article describes a multitude of factors that have created a near “perfect storm,” leading to more infected ticks in more places throughout the U.S.

More ticks in more places

Along with other steps, the ESA recommended engaging the help of citizen scientists. In 2016, the Bay Area Lyme Foundation (BALF) decided to do just that. The results of this groundbreaking nationwide project have recently been published—and the news is not good!

Among many disturbing facts, the new study found black-legged ticks — carriers of 7 of 18 US tick-borne diseases — in 83 counties where they had never previously been recorded.

More Ticks = More Sick People

Ticks have undergone a population explosion over the past two decades, with Ixodes ticks, the primary source of Lyme disease, now found in nearly 50% more U.S. counties than in 1996.

“Since the late 1990s, the number of counties in the northeastern United States that are considered high-risk for Lyme disease has increased by more than 320%,” says Rebecca Eisen from the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases at the CDC. “The tick is now established in areas where it was absent 20 years ago,” she adds……Join or login below to continue reading.

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