Southern Illinoisans more aware of ticks - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Southern Illinoisans more aware of ticks

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WSIL -- It's typical in our area to see ticks in the early spring and late summer. But this year, because of the heat and rain, we've been seeing a lot more of them.

Experts say that creates dangers for you and your pets. 

Dog ticks, Deer ticks and the Lone Star Tick are all common in our region. All three, are known for carrying diseases. 

"Everybody hears about Lyme disease because it is the most commonly transmitted disease in the United States, but there are so many other diseases that are transmitted by ticks that are potentially a lot more dangerous," said SIU doctoral student Elliot Zieman.  

Zieman says that even in town, wildlife like deer, raccoons and bobcats, make their way into your yard leaving ticks behind for you and your pets to pick up.  

"If a female tick drops off a deer, that female tick can leave tens of thousands of eggs that she can lay in your yard," said Zieman.  

His research also suggests that cats may be even more at risk. 

Bobcats transmit a disease through ticks called "Bobcat Fever," and so far this year it has been widespread and deadly. 

"Just last week I had four new cases of the disease in one week. Which is more cases than I've ever had in one week before." said Zieman.  

Of the 24 cases that have popped up this summer, only three have survived. 

Zieman says that the prevention medicine you put on your pets doesn't necessarily kill the ticks, which can be very resilient. 

"They can live for two years without a meal. So if you have a tick and you think 'oh, I'll just throw it out in the yard, It'll die.' It wont die. It'll come back and you'll probably get that tick again," said Zieman. 

 He suggests that every time you encounter a tick, you kill it, so that it doesn't get on you or anyone else. 

You are also suggested to wear long sleeves and tuck your jeans into your socks when you're outdoors where ticks may be present. 

Spraying your yard with parasite repellent can also be effective. 

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