Lyme disease still a risk in Ky. as tick season winds down

As we near the end of tick season in Kentucky, it’s important to know that Lyme disease can still affect you.
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 4:29 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As we near the end of tick season in Kentucky, it’s important to know that Lyme disease can still affect you.

That’s why it’s important to know what to do in case you come in contact with a tick.

Lyme disease affects many Kentuckians each year, and with a potential rollout of a Lyme disease vaccine in the near future, it brings hope to many families affected by the disease. It’s important for researchers and doctors to study the arachnids to keep people safe from sicknesses.

“Tick season can really be looked at nine or ten months out of the year situation where you are going to be possibly exposed to ticks anytime you go outdoors for most of the year,” UK extension entomologist Dr. Jonathan Larson said.

Black-legged deer ticks that carry Lyme disease are generally a little orangey in color. They are most commonly active when it’s warm outside and with more people outside post-pandemic, more people are coming in contact with the bug.

“Lyme disease is present in Kentucky. We have been sent in many black-legged deer ticks that have been tested for the pathogen that carries Lyme and has been found over and over again,” Larson said.

In terms of the history of Lyme disease in Kentucky, there isn’t a lot of information about it because doctors don’t have to necessarily report it to the CDC, therefore most numbers aren’t necessarily accurate.

“Brush management is really the key, there really is not a place for them to live. The insecticides and things of that nature we try to reserve for cattle producers that need to keep the cattle off of their land,” Larson said.

In addition to more information about the ticks, researchers have been testing out a new vaccine to prevent Lyme disease.

“If they can help Kentuckians to not end up dealing with this in an acute way or a long-term way, that is a big victory in my opinion,” Larson said.

Researchers hope by bringing more attention to the ticks that they can collect more data to pass to physicians that will ultimately keep people safe.

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