Tick season is getting more dangerous. Here’s how CT is fighting back

It’s only April, but thanks to another unusually mild winter, tick season has already arrived in Connecticut.

John Craven

Apr 8, 2024, 9:34 PM

Updated 42 days ago

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It’s only April, but thanks to another unusually mild winter, tick season has already arrived in Connecticut. Experts at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) in New Haven say we’re not just seeing more ticks – but also more species of ticks carrying more dangerous diseases.
ALL YEAR ROUND
The state lab used to be quiet until spring. But now, researchers are seeing 15 times more ticks than previous winters. “We used to call it ‘tick activities season,’” said Dr. Goudarz Molaei, CAES’ tick program director. “Now we call it ‘tick activities all year round.’”And all those ticks bring more infections, which have doubled in the Northeast over the past decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
MORE SPECIES, MORE AGGRESSIVE
Warmer weather also means new species like the Lone Star tick, which actually chases down potential hosts. It can also leave victims allergic to red meat for life.“The Alpha Gal Syndrome is very unusual,” said CAES’ director, Dr. Gary White. “So you're bit by a tick, then you have this disorder where you're allergic to red meat.”Another dangerous new tick-borne disease is Powassan Virus, which gives victims almost no time to seek treatment.“Most tick-borne diseases, the tick has to be feeding or attached to you for 18 to 24 hours to pass the infection,” said White. “Powassan Virus can be passed in 15 minutes.”
MORE FUNDING
The new federal budget includes more than $30 million dollars for research – including a new public-private incubator called LymeX .“We're in a battle with ticks, and the ticks are threatening to win,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut).CAES is getting $239,000 to expand collection and monitoring across the state. Right now, they mainly collect ticks from the public or local health departments. “So we go out, we set traps in specific areas of concern, and bring those ticks in,” White said.If you find a tick on yourself or your pet, you can send it to the state lab, and they'll evaluate it for you in two or three days.


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