If you can see grass, tick season is here

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copyright the Chronicle May 3, 2017

 

by Brad Usatch

 

This week’s weather notwithstanding, summer is on its way, and with it, another year of tick vigilance for people and their pets.

Lyme disease, the most prevalent pathogen spread by ticks, used to be a fringe issue for a handful of unlucky souls in southern New England and maybe southern Vermont counties. But in the past ten or so years, ticks have spread north, and biologists and doctors warn that no place in Vermont is safe from the parasites and the host of diseases they are able to transmit.

Based on information on the Department of Health website, up until about the year 2000, Vermont averaged roughly ten to 20 confirmed cases of Lyme disease per year. That number grew steadily to reach 50 by 2004, 105 by 2008, and 330 by 2010. In 2013, the state recorded 675 cases of Lyme disease, or better than one infection for every 1,000 people.

That same 2015 data ranked Vermont as the state with the highest incidence of Lyme disease in the country. That year, the Center for Disease Control reported that 78.4 out of every 100,000 Vermonters was infected at some point. That number was well above most other states, including Connecticut, which reported an infection rate of 52.2 per 100,000.

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