An uptick in ticks: health officials warning people to be extra vigilant

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NEW HAVEN -- State health officials are warning residents to take extra precautions when it comes to tick prevention.

State scientists say an early tick boom this year is due mostly to a warmer than average winter which has allowed the bugs to breed and spread easier.

Ticks are commonly known for carrying pathogens like Lyme Disease but, in recent months, state health officials have been seeing other potentially dangerous diseases cropping up, including the Powassan Virus, which, if left untreated, could be fatal.

"The abundance of ticks have become rather overwhelming," said Dr. Goudarz Molaei, Tick Program Director, CT Agricultural Experiment Station. "We are not only seeing the number of ticks are are quite overwhelming, we are also seeing an increased prevalence of infection in these ticks."

Smaller ticks have been growing around this time of year, another concern for health officials, as they are harder to spot with the naked eye. Doctors are urging tick safety anytime someone is exposed to an area potentially harboring ticks.

"Do careful tick checks of the younger children and instruct teenagers to do their own tick checks where they're looking for a new freckle or some new spot that they didn't see before," said Dr. Laurence Zemmel, Lyme Disease Center Director, Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

Click here for information on how to properly protect yourself against ticks.