Monday, July 19, 2021

Ticks Suck

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Nature, Health, Medicine

Ed Hessler

Ticks are among us...everywhere even where never expected such as beaches. This news clip (2m 20s) from San Francisco reports on a new study warning of an increase in Lyme-Carrying Ticks in northern Californian coastal areas.

According to Sheila Eldred (NPR), "ecologist Dan Salkeld and a colleague were surprised when they found 180 ticks in less than a mile on a coastal trail near Muir Beach in California one day in 2016." And what you might expect from scientists, Salkeld told Eldred that "'we were delighted at the high numbers of ticks!'" The reason? It is about sample sizes and data. There is a link to a report on their findings which was published in June. Salkeld also is a researcher for the Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

According to Eldred's reporting the expansion of new habitats is a growing and concerning trend. "And," she notes, "more of them appear to be carrying pathogens...with abut 50,000 cases reported each year -- and far more going unreported."

Eldred's report is both timely and informative. She describes the ticks of concern, where they are likely to be found, the importance of geographic location, influences of weather factors what to do if you are bitten and includes photographs of the six most common tick types with descriptions of each as well as the diseases they may carry. Additionally, she describes how to avoid getting bitten in the first place and then what to do if you do get bitten.

The essay includes a link to the Tick Finder Map from TickEncounter at the University of Rhode Island. The map is interactive so you can select a region and set the time of year to learn how tick activity changes.

I owe the title of this post to Eldred.

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