Blacklegged Ticks Becoming More Prevalent in Ohio

By: Josh McComas Email
By: Josh McComas Email

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The Ohio Department of Health is warning hunters and outdoor enthusiasts of a relatively new tick in Ohio.

The blacklegged "deer" tick was once considered rare in Ohio, but the state now has likely established populations in 26 counties, according to a release from the Ohio Department of Health. Most of the ticks were found east of Interstate 71.

According to the release, these small, dark ticks are known transmitters of Lyme disease and remain active throughout the year, including the fall and winter when temperatures are above freezing.

Unlike pets and humans, wild animals such as deer are not affected by the blacklegged tick and suffer no ill effects from Lyme disease, according to the release. Additionally, Lyme disease cannot be transmitted by the consumption of venison. Hunters should remember that hunting and dressing deer may bring them into close contact with infected ticks. Be aware that composting deer hides may introduce these unwanted ticks in new areas.

The Department of Health is urging everyone to take precaution to prevent tick attachment by doing the following:

  • Outer clothing should be sprayed with a permethrin-based repellent according to label directions before hunting and allowed to thoroughly air dry. Once dry, the clothing produces no odor.
  • Pants should be tucked into socks or boots and shirts into pants to keep ticks on the outside of clothing. These ticks are difficult to spot on camouflage clothing.
  • All clothing should be carefully inspected for small, dark crawling ticks before entering vehicles and going indoors. Once indoors, thoroughly check for small, attached ticks.

    According to the release, ticks should be removed as soon as they are discovered to reduce the risk of contracting tick-borne diseases. For individuals to safely remove ticks from themselves, hunting dogs, or deer, people should use tweezers or their fingers protected by rubber gloves. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull straight out with steady, even pressure. Do not use petroleum jelly, fingernail polish, alcohol, cigarettes, matches, or other similar methods to try to kill or stimulate the tick to back out. These methods do not work, delay proper removal and may be dangerous.

    To learn more about ticks, visit http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Default.aspx?tabid=23053.


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