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Migrating Tick Populations Pose Year-Round Disease Threat for People and Pets
Date:10/10/2007

Climate changes, increasing deer populations spark tick movement;

http://www.dogsandticks.com tracks regional prevalence

WESTBROOK, Maine, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Ticks have long posed both a nuisance and a danger to residents and pets in the Northeast, but this fall, new areas of the country may experience a surge in tick-borne infections. Adult ticks are at their most active during the fall months, and data compiled by the veterinary industry show that dogs in 48 states already have tested positive this year for Lyme disease exposure, signaling a nationwide threat to families and their pets.

Veterinarians across the United States are citing an increase in tick-borne infections in recent years, according to Michael Dryden, DVM, a Kansas State University professor of veterinary parasitology. Researchers attribute tick migrations to warmer temperatures, increasing white-tailed deer populations, reforestation and urban sprawl. Advancements in diagnostic screening have allowed veterinarians to easily track the rise in canine exposure to tick-borne infections around the country.

"Whatever you considered about ticks, their location and tick-transmitted diseases five years ago, it is going to be different today and continue to be different in five years based on these factors," says Dryden. "Reforestation, changes in agricultural practices and wildlife conservation efforts have contributed to an explosive growth in deer populations -- a key factor in the expansion of several tick species' habitats. There are almost 100 times more white-tailed deer in the United States now than there were 100 years ago."

More Ticks, More Disease

"One tick species making its way to new parts of the country is the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis), the primary transmitter of Lyme disease in eastern North America," says Dryden. Because the main host for the deer tick is the white-tailed
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SOURCE IDEXX Laboratories, Inc.
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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