Lyme disease is growing faster in Wisconsin than in other states. During the first-of-its-kind public forum, CDC Bacterial Diseases Branch Chief Dr. Ben Beard said Mother Nature is partly to blame for the increase in Wisconsin, where cases have quadrupled over the last decade. “We think they (ticks) are spreading primarily through deer, deer populations are growing,” Beard said at the Wausau event Thursday.
The federal health official also attributes the increased case numbers to improved reporting. Add to that the fact there are more ticks and that we spend more time outdoors, Beard said you have a recipe for increased exposure.
Wisconsin health officials were on hand giving advice on how to look for the disease-carrying insects. State vector-borne disease epidemiologist Diep Hoang-Johnson said right when coming inside folks should be checking themselves, pets and kids. As the ticks can be as small as a sesame seed, Hoang-Johnson suggested looking in places that are not always easy to see such as behind knees, ankles and ears.
Experts say other good tips include wearing light-colored clothing and DEET repellant, and tucking your pants into your socks.