(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Tick activity is currently high in Pennsylvania.
The PA Tick Research Lab weekly tick report shows there is a high risk for adult female blacklegged (deer) ticks in Pennsylvania for the week of April 1-8.
Currently, there is only a mild risk for larval and nymph blacklegged ticks, and for adult and nymph lone star ticks.
Blacklegged ticks, also called deer ticks, are active even in the winter when temperatures are in the mid-30s and above. Tick season in Pennsylvania typically begins in April and can last until as late as October.
A bite from a tick can cause diseases like Lyme Disease, but this year, health officials are warning of a rare, dangerous disease — Deer Tick Virus (DTV).
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), DTV was found in March in ticks at high levels for the first time in multiple locations around the state.
The Deer Tick Virus, which is a type of Powassan virus, is rare in the United States, but the DEP reports positive cases have increased in recent years. It is spread to people primarily by bites from infected ticks and does not spread person-to-person.
Lyme Disease is also spread through the bite of infected ticks.
Tips from the Pa. DEP for staying safe while outdoors:
- Apply tick repellents containing permethrin to clothing and EPA-registered insect repellents such as DEET to exposed skin before entering the outdoors. Reapply as needed according to product label instructions.
- Wear light-colored outer clothing and tuck shirts into pants, and pants into socks.
- Walk in the centers of trails, and avoid wooded and brushy areas with low-growing vegetation and tall grasses that may harbor ticks.
- After returning home, remove all clothing, take a shower, and place clothing into the dryer on high heat to kill any lingering ticks. Examine gear such as backpacks for ticks.
- Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand or full-length mirror, including hidden areas such as the scalp, ears, armpits, belly button, and between the legs.
- Check over any pets exposed to likely tick habitats each time they return indoors.
- If a tick is found attached to your skin, use tweezers to remove it carefully, including the head. Monitor for symptoms and contact your doctor with any questions.
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Tips from the Pa. Tick Research Lab for keeping your pets safe:
- Treat bedding with permethrin: Use gloves and let dry before touching.
- Perform tick checks regularly after being outdoors: check in ears and under armpits.
- Treat pets with anti-tick medication or use an anti-tick collar.
- Speak to your veterinarian about Lyme disease vaccine for dogs.
Click here to submit a tick for testing in Pennsylvania.