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More ticks, risk of Lyme disease in Wisconsin

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -- A mild winter combined with a larger population of deer in Wisconsin this year could mean more ticks to look out for.

Experts at the Tick-Borne Illness Center of Excellence in Woodruff treat people from across the country, but they say Northern Wisconsin stands out.

"It is a highly prevalent area for wood tick diseases and deer tick diseases," said center manager Kathy McCaughan.

This year, experts say they're seeing the impact of a mild winter.

"The ticks really don't go away in the winter they just go underneath the leaves and the snow kind of insulates them and the first tick that we had reported here was the beginning of March already," said Clinic Program Director Connie Campbell.

Combine that with a higher deer population and more people outside, there could be a higher risk of spreading lyme disease.

"Now with COVID, everyone is out and about a little bit trying to get fresh air, just kinda be vigilant," said Campbell. "You wear light-colored clothing so that you can spot them really easily, deet helps but you don't spray it on your skin you spray it on your clothes."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also says to tuck your pants into your socks when you're going out and perform a tick check when you get back home.

You can learn more about Lyme disease on the State's Health Department Website.

You can also download an app from UW-Madison to track ticks and learn about removal/prevention.

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Tom Lally

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