ticks

Maine health officials are reporting a surge in cases of two tickborne diseases. The Maine Center for Disease Control says that as of October 1, it's recorded 556 cases of anaplasmosis and 124 cases of babesiosis.

Scientists Worry That As Climate Rises, So Will New England Moose Deaths

Sep 30, 2019
Robert F. Bukaty / AP File

The devastating toll of ticks on New England’s moose herd has caused the region’s population to shrink, and experts worry it could get worse with climate change.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

This week Maine Public is focusing coverage on climate change, and threats it poses to Maine and to the planet. Among those threats is an increasing number of tick-borne diseases. Researchers say warmer winters and rising humidity have helped fuel the northward expansion of the ticks' range. Changes in climate are also making Maine more hospitable for new species of ticks and the diseases they carry.

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Winter ticks have killed thousands of moose in New England . Maine’s moose population is estimated to have fallen from 76,000 five years ago to between 60,000 and 70,000 today. New Hampshire’s numbers have reduced nearly 50 percent, to about 5,000 moose. We learn about the fate of Maine’s moose population and what wildlife managers plan to do to protect this charismatic animal.  We’ll also discuss the popularity of moose watching tours and best places to spot a moose in Maine.

This is part of Maine Calling’s yearlong focus on topics that reflect what is iconic in Maine.

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The Maine Center For Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed another case of the tick-borne virus Powassan.

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U.S. Sen. Susan Collins has introduced legislation that would authorize $100 million for the prevention and treatment of tick-borne illnesses.

Maine Public

Cases of tick-borne disease in Maine declined in 2018. A little more than 1300 cases of Lyme disease were reported to the Maine Center for Disease Control, as compared to more than 1800 last year.

AP Photo

Curious about the number of tick borne diseases in your county or town? A new web-based dashboard on the Maine Tracking Network provides daily updates on cases of Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and babesiosis.

Hot, Dry Summer Bringing Fewer Cases Of Lyme Disease

Sep 10, 2018
U.S. Centers for Disease Control / Associated Press

New England's hot summer might be helping keep the ticks that carry Lyme disease at bay.

  

The tick-borne disease anaplasmosis continues to be a concern after a spike in the disease last year, says state epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett.

Bennett says nearly 300 cases have been reported so far this year, which is on pace with last year’s total of 663. Anaplasmosis appears to be spreading across Maine the same way Lyme disease did a decade ago.

"As anaplasmosis spreads through the tick population, we're going to see the increase in anaplasmosis cases, and so we're going to be more likely to see coinfection."

Allen G. Breed / Associated Press

Dog and deer ticks are well-established in Maine and cause an a number of illnesses. Now, another species — the lone star tick, typically found in the southern U.S. — appears to be making inroads here, and it brings with it a surprising reaction.

Ticks & Lyme Disease

Jun 8, 2017
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This is a rebroadcast of an earlier show; no calls will be taken.

Diseases carried by ticks are of increasing concern, with the Powassan virus surfacing as a new threat. Ticks are already prevalent this season. What should people watch for, and can they protect themselves from vector-borne diseases? 

Guests:Chuck Lubelczyk, vector ecologist, Maine Medical Center Research Institute

Robert Smith, internist with Intermed and infectious disease specialist with Maine Medical Center's Lyme and Vector-Borne Disease Lab

s_p_e_x / Flickr/Creative Commons

Two cases of Powassan encephalitis have been identified in Maine.

According to the state Center for Disease Control, two adults from the midcoast were hospitalized in late April with the virus, but have since been discharged.

Powassan is transmitted through woodchuck and deer ticks. Signs and symptoms begin one week to one month after the tick bite and can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures and memory loss. Long-term neurologic problems may occur.

Preliminary numbers in New Hampshire indicate winter ticks have taken a huge toll on calves being tracked in the Granite State. Nearly three-quarters of the 36 calves wearing tracking collars have died from the blood-sucking insects.

State of Maine Moose Biologist Lee Kantar says, while Maine hasn't released it's figures yet, in western Maine it was a pretty rough year for calves. But he says calf mortality was quite a bit lower in northern Maine. Kantar says moose aren't as good at grooming ticks off themselves in the fall as are, for example, white tail deer.

How bad will the ticks be this season and what can you do to prevent being bitten?

Guests:  Chuck Lubelczyk, Field Biologist, Maine Medical Center Research Institute

Dr. Robert Smith, Principal Investigator, Maine Medical Center Research Institute

Jim Dill, Pest Management Specialist, UMaine 

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