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Tuesday - March 14, 2017 3:04 am

Wisconsin may not see rise in Lyme-stricken deer ticks, like the NE

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Rodent explosion likely to lead to Lyme disease increase.

They're prepping for a huge Lyme disease year in the northeast but maybe not so much in Wisconsin.

University of Wisconsin entomologist Susan Paskewitz says she's seen nothing to suggest the state as a whole will face a Lyme outbreak this year - just not the kind of mouse population explosion happening in the northeast.

"I have heard from a couple of people in the state that, in their various local regions, some places may have seen big eruptions of mouse populations," Paskewitz said. "So, it could be something that's quite focal. It wouldn't be a state-wide prediction, but more local."

Pankewitz says mice, shrews and chipmunks all can be popular hosts for Lyme-carrying deer ticks and this year looks to be a pretty typical one in Wisconsin.

Paskewitz also said that type of variable has more impact on Lyme disease than winter weather.

"I'm not sure that the hard winter or mild winter really has a lot of impact," she said. "What will happen, and people will notice this, is you'll start getting tick activity earlier than you would expect."

In 2015, the most recent year for available numbers, 1,300 cases of Lyme disease were confirmed in Wisconsin.  

And, though Paskewitz says it looks to be a typical year, the disease, through infected ticks, continues to spread.

"Now, pretty much, I think any wooded place in Wisconsin where we've looked for any deer ticks with Lyme disease, we've been able to find them there," she said.


Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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