ticks

Sara Plourde, NHPR

Once again, tick season is upon us, and the risk of tick bites and tick-borne infection is high.

Originally created in 2014, we have updated the graphic below to represent the latest statistics we have on confirmed cases of Lyme disease. Read through to learn more about ticks, the infections they can carry, and how to prevent being infected yourself.

Fairfax County / Flickr/CC

Twenty years ago, it was not considered a big problem in New Hampshire, but today – these little black-legged bugs are seen as a major threat to people, pets and wildlife.  We’ll get the latest on where their populations are expanding and on tick-borne illnesses, primarily – but not exclusively -- Lyme disease. We’ll also look the state’s new plan to address this.  

GUESTS: 

Alan Eaton – UNH Cooperative Extension Entomologist and Integrated Pest Management Specialist. Alan has been studying ticks and Lyme disease in New Hampshire for two decades. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tick season is back, and so is another year of mostly preventable cases of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

While blacklegged ticks – also called deer ticks – will be active until the fall, from now until July is when the nymphs, or young ones, are most active. Nymphs are tiny and hard to find, which makes the risk to contract Lyme, babesiosis and anaplasmosis highest starting right now.

But more dangerous than the diseases themselves, says Alan Eaton, an entomologist with UNH, is the lack of public awareness about these illnesses.

northeast naturalist via Flickr Creative Commons

How's this for a typical day at the office: get into a helicopter, fly just above treetops in parts of northern New Hampshire, and find moose to tag, track and monitor. It's part of the work New Hampshire Fish and Game is doing to study the effect of winter tick and other parasites on the state's moose population.

Still Burning via flickr Creative Commons

California’s Pelican Bay state prison houses gang leaders high on the food chain. Contrary to popular myth, they run the joint like a well-oiled machine, with chains-of-command, communication networks, even a system for intake.

On today’s show: a glimpse into the surprisingly orderly life behind bars, and the influence of gangs on life on the outside.

Also today, an African-American woman says it’s time to reject the notion that beating kids is part of black culture.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

More Ticks Means More Concern About Lyme Disease

Aug 18, 2014
beeldmark / Flickr/CC

Lyme disease: caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, and transmitted by the tiny black-legged tick, it’s an infection that first causes fever, chills and flu-like symptoms.

John Tann Flickr CC

As the tick population continues to explode in the Northeast, the number of cases of Lyme disease continues to grow. It’s a big issue in New Hampshire as we have thousands of cases of Lyme each year, but experts say the number is actually much higher than what is ever reported. There are also many other tick-borne diseases that are being misdiagnosed and treated incorrectly.

 Related: Things You Should Know About Ticks 

They are one of the least-enjoyed elements of the warm weather landscape in New Hampshire.

Ticks.

They bite. They carry Lyme disease and other nasty illnesses – and they’re pretty creepy looking as well.

Tick season is upon us once again, and New Hampshire health officials are advising people to wear insect repellent and protective clothing to avoid being bitten by them and potentially exposed to Lyme disease.

The Department of Health and Human Services says in 2013, 1,689 cases of Lyme disease were identified in the state, with the highest rates of disease in Hillsborough, Rockingham, and Strafford counties.

The greatest risk for Lyme disease is between May and August.

Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a bulls-eye-like rash.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

With tick season in full swing - and this year being described as the worst in recent history - the risk of tick bites and tick-borne infection is high. Read through the graphic below to learn more about ticks, the infections they can carry, and how to prevent being infected yourself.

Brian M / Flickr CC

Health and environmental officials say New Hampshire is entering the highest risk time of year for exposure to Lyme disease, and the ticks could be especially bad this year.

“If you have to, move to Aruba,” says Alan Eaton, Biologist with the UNH Cooperative Extension, “Get out of here for the next month of six weeks or so.”

Wikimedia Commons

Here's a dubious Granite State superlative: New Hampshire has the third highest incidence of Lyme disease in the country following Delaware and Connecticut!

Southern New Hampshire is prime tick habitat. Deer ticks - not dog ticks - are THE vector for human Lyme disease. Two-toned solid colored deer ticks, also called "black-legged ticks" are smaller than familiar mottled brown dog ticks.

October is the annual breeding season, "the rut" for the largest denizens of New Hampshire's North Country: Moose.  It's also the annual moose hunting season.

Following the initial recovery of moose populations, an annual moose hunt has occurred since 1988. That first year, 75 permits were issued for a three-day hunt in the North Country only. Last year, 400 moose permit hunters took 290 moose.

This year 275 coveted moose hunting permits were awarded by lottery from among more than 13,400 applicants for the nine-day season.

A surge in occurrence of Lyme disease is predicted for the Eastern U.S. three years after bumper acorn crops in 2009 and 2010 and following virtually NO acorns last autumn in 2011. Why is that? How do acorn crops influence rates of human illness? 

Oak forests demonstrate the ecological ripple effects when bumper acorn crops cause a population boom in mice which translates into an increase in ticks and a delayed-onset spike in reported cases of human Lyme disease.