Number Of Ticks, Disease Risk On The Rise - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Number Of Ticks, Disease Risk On The Rise

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SALISBURY, Md. - The cold winter and wet spring are over, but they left perfect conditions for ticks. And according to local experts, we're seeing more of them than normal.

"So far, since its gotten warmer, we've seen a lot," said Shannon Cooper of the Winter Place Animal Hospital. "We've seen a lot of the brown dog ticks that carry the ehrlichia."

The warmer temps are bringing ticks out earlier across the northern east coast. According to the CDC - ninety five percent of reported Lyme disease cases are found in just 13 states, including Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. And with it comes an increased opportunity to spread other diseases like Lyme, Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Cooper says now's the time to be proactive with pet protection.

"When you bathe today, it's not going to do anything tomorrow," she explains. "It may just kill or drown the fleas and ticks that are on them."

To provide the best treatment, pets should be dry before applying a topical repellant. The natural oils in pets' skin help distribute the product, so you may have to wait a few hours to a day after baths, depending on the product.

If you do find a tick on you or a pet, diseases can be transmitted within hours, but symptoms may not show up for some time.

"We have had so many calls this spring and early summer from people who are getting sick from tick bites," said Marilyn Williams of the Lyme Disease Association of the Eastern Shore.

She says it's because ticks aren't just in the woods any more - they're getting right up to yards and homes. But, there could be help right where you stand.

"Spray your clothes and shoes with permethrin," Williams said. "Even if only your tennis shoes are treated your chances of getting a tick bite are reduced by 73.5 percent."

And keeping them off of you, and your pets, will keep happy tails wagging all summer long.

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