Tick-borne Lyme disease exploding into Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Tick-borne Lyme disease exploding into Michigan

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They’re baaaaack.

An unseasonably warm February is drawing out blood-sucking insects earlier than usual in parts of Michigan.

The Detroit Free Press reported cases of tick-borne Lyme disease are exploding into the state. Jean Tsao, an associate professor at Michigan State University told the Free Press there were fewer than 30 human cases of Lyme disease report in Michigan in any year between 2000 and 2004.

By 2009 that number jumped to 90 reported cases. By 2013 there were 166 reported cases, according to Tsao. Those numbers may actually be low, though.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the number of cases nationwide could be 10 times higher than what’s actually reported.

Ticks are to blame for the transfer of Lyme disease. When the tick bites an animal, bacteria can transfer. The bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, can cause Lyme disease in dogs, horses and humans.

Scientists can’t say for sure why the increase is happening now, but Tsao suspects it has to do with birds carrying the ticks across Lake Michigan. 

Another MSU entomologist reported stink bugs, boxelder bugs, house flies, gnats and other insects may be emerging from hiding spaces in Michigan homes as well. Click here to read more. 

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