Warmer winter temps prompt warning about ticks

State health officials put out a warning about ticks.
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 10:33 AM EST
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(WFSB) – State health officials put out a warning about ticks.

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station acknowledged that ticks are usually out during the warmer months, but with the recent warm winter temperatures, it said the bugs have been spotted out there now.

Climate change brought the warm temperatures, state scientists said. Those temperatures have kept the ticks around.

They also said many of them are infected, some with deadly viruses.

“It’s very odd to hear that ticks are more prevalent at this time of the year, but you can see it’s been warmer,” said Jeff Russitano, a Southington resident. “Usually this time of year, ticks are dormant or gone.”

People either mail or drop off ticks at the CAES.

Dr. Goudarz Molaei told Channel 3 that they’ve seen more than 800 ticks just in the winter months.

“We used to receive 50 ticks over several months,” Molaei said. “Now we are getting that 50 sometimes in a week.”

More ticks mean more viruses that could infect people and pets.

“We are dealing with up to 20 important tick-related diseases or medical conditions,” Molaei said. “We are dealing with several tick species transmitting up to 20 tick pathogens. Powasson is one of those concerns.”

The Powasson virus killed a woman in New London County last year, state health officials said.

Lyme disease is another common virus detected in Connecticut. On top of the risk now being year-round, scientists said they are finding ticks infected with three diseases at once.

“You can imagine this complicates the process of diagnosis and treatment by physicians,” Molaei said.

Experts told people know their surroundings. They said to try to avoid tall grass and wooded areas. If they need to be there, they should try and cover up their body. Also, don’t forget to check the pets.

“I would worry about the bears, but now I have to worry about the ticks too,” said Diane Platt of Cheshire.

The CAES said it received $5 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so it can study the growing tick population. As of now, there’s no immediate solution.