NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Summer doesn’t officially start until June 20 and tick bites and Lyme disease are already a major problem. However, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal just may have the solution.
“The numbers of ticks is exploding nationwide,” said Sen. Blumenthal at a press conference Friday.
According to the senator, new species like the Longhorn and Spotted tick are invading Connecticut.
The senator, along with scientists from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station have identified the reason for the rise in numbers.
“With a mild winter and an early spring, a lot of rainfall, the stage is set for an increased number of ticks,” said Sen. Blumenthal.
“Nationally, we have at least 475,000 cases of Lyme disease each year,” said Dr. Kirby Stafford, III from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
Studies show 46% of those ticks have Lyme disease. While often located in grass and wooded areas — it’s not uncommon for ticks to climb aboard family pets and find their way into your home.
If bitten, here are some of the symptoms to watch out for:
- Fever and chills
- Irregular heart beat
- Joint pain
- Facial palsy
Wearing proper clothing outside like long sleeve shirts and long pants are always a good defense against a pesky tick.
However Sen. Blumenthal is pushing for an increase in funding from members of the Senate Appropriates Commitment to ward-off the problem.
“We need at least 50 million dollars more to fight the exploding number of ticks nationwide,” said Sen. Blumenthal.
If you’re bitten by a tick this summer — health experts say use tweezers to remove it from your skin then wash the area with soap, water, and apply alcohol. If problems persist, you are advised to see your doctor.