Going outside? Watch out for unusual tick found in Eastern Kentucky

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MARTIN COUNTY, KY. (WAVE) - It's Memorial Day weekend and more people will head outside as the summer season kicks off. While you're out having fun, be sure to keep an eye out for a tick that is new to the area.

This year’s tick season is different in Kentucky because a new tick has popped up in our area.

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment has received more calls about seeing ticks, but reports that incidents of tick-borne diseases in the state are very low.

People still need to use precautions because ticks are out there. They’re looking to suck blood three times in their lives in order to reproduce. This year’s tick season is different in Kentucky because a new tick has popped up in our area.

“The most common ticks we have are the Lone Star Ticks and the American Dog Tick,” Spencer County Agriculture agent Bryce Roberts said. “The new one we found is the Asian Longhorned Tick.”

Roberts said the Asian Longhorned Tick was found in Eastern Kentucky, in Martin County.

“It’s very concerning because of the diseases they do carry,” Roberts said.

New ticks bring new diseases. Before or when someone gets a tick disease, they see epidemiologist Dr. Paul Schulz.

“The two we encounter the most are Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever,” Schulz said.

Schulz said the infectious disease department at Norton Healthcare found its first tick-borne disease of the year in March, a sign that tick season could be starting early.

“(In) well over 50 percent of diagnosed infections, the patient didn’t know they had tick exposure,” Schulz said.

People often don’t see or feel when a tick is biting them. However, there are ways to protect yourself and your summer experience: Cover up as much of your skin as you can, use a spray with DEET, avoid overgrown wooded areas, check yourself and your children every night.



 
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