The deer population in Central New York has been steadily increasing, causing concern among experts. However, it is not just the deer that pose a potential health risk. Local tick expert warns of the spread of disease by ticks that may affect not only the deer but also humans.
Ticks are small, blood-sucking parasites that can transmit diseases to animals and humans through their bites. They are commonly found in wooded areas where deer frequent, making the rising deer population a contributing factor to the increase in tick-borne diseases.
Lyme disease is one of the most well-known tick-borne illnesses in the region. It is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks. Symptoms of Lyme disease can include fever, fatigue, headache, and a characteristic rash.
While deer are often the focus when discussing tick-borne diseases, it is important to remember that other animals can also carry ticks and spread diseases. Mice, chipmunks, squirrels, and birds are all potential hosts for ticks, serving as reservoirs for disease-causing pathogens. These animals can come into contact with ticks in their natural habitats and bring them into residential areas, increasing the risk of exposure to humans.
To mitigate the risk of tick-borne diseases, experts recommend taking preventative measures such as wearing long sleeves and pants when spending time in tick-infested areas, using insect repellents containing DEET, and conducting regular tick checks after outdoor activities. It is also advisable to keep lawns well-maintained, as ticks prefer tall grass and bushes.
As the deer population continues to rise in Central New York, it is crucial to remain vigilant and educated about the potential health risks associated with ticks. By taking necessary precautions and seeking proper medical attention if necessary, individuals can minimize the dangers posed by these disease-carrying parasites.
– Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)