Increase in ticks seen
July 5, 2011
The large amount of water and recent warm weather are resulting in an increase in ticks and mosquitoes throughout Summit County.
According to Carl Prior, DVM, a veterinarian at Park City Animal Clinic, during the last three weeks there has been an increase in the number of people bringing in pets that have ticks.
"We normally see just a few ticks on dogs each summer, this year we have already seen six in just the past week," Prior said.
Prior strongly encourages pet owners to use tick preventive medicine and carefully look through a dogs coat after hikes.
"Ticks are dangerous and can carry diseases," said Prior. "We didn’t used to have to use tick preventive in this area, but more disease-carrying ticks are spreading into the West."
Not every animal exposed to a tick is going to contract a disease, including humans said Prior.
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"Lyme Disease or other tick related diseases are not common out here in humans," said Carolyn Rose, Nursing Director for Summit County Health. "People who travel to areas where it is common though need to be aware."
According to the Center for Disease Control, to avoid tick-related diseases, people are encouraged to check skin carefully after walking through brush or high grass, wear light colored clothing so ticks can be spotted before becoming attached and wear bug spray containing DEET.
Lyme Disease is not likely to spread from a tick to a human within the first 36 hours so the CDC recommends checking for ticks daily and removing them as soon as possible.
Even those who plan on spending the summer in their backyards will notice the increase in insects. John Jaussi with the Summit County Mosquito Abatement District said they are expecting a lot more mosquitoes than normal this summer, especially once the snow run-off dies down.
"We have had fast water so far, so the mosquitoes have not been as bad as they could be," said Jaussi. "When the water slows down and pools develop near streams, that’s when problems begin."
The mosquito abatement team has been treating standing water and fields for the past two months throughout Summit County in an effort to kill mosquito larva and monitor the insects for diseases.
If someone is allergic to mosquitoes, mosquito abatement can spray near the home and make sure there is no standing water where larvae can hatch such as ponds, bird baths, or puddles.
According to Jaussi, West Nile Virus hasn’t been seen in Summit County in four years but the mosquito population continues to be closely monitored for any signs.
Only two kinds of mosquitoes carry West Nile Virus, and only one can be found in Utah according to Rose.
"We encourage people to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes from dusk till dawn, that’s when the kind of mosquito that carries West Nile Virus is out," Rose said.
If someone is going to be outside during these hours, Jaussi recommends people use DEET and wear long pants and sleeves to avoid mosquito bites.