Lyme Disease numbers are on the rise

Published: Aug. 22, 2018 at 9:55 PM CDT
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August is a time of year that many people spend outside, but it is also a peak time for ticks.

A new study shows that Lyme Disease has appeared in every single U.S. state and is also on the rise in our area.

“Lyme Disease is increasing in the U.S. and especially in Minnesota, but we are also seeing it here in North Dakota,” said Janet Knodel, North Dakota State University Professor and Extension Entomologist.

According to Tick Check, over 22,000 cases have been confirmed in Minnesota from 2001 to 2016.

Of the 233 cases in North Dakota, almost half of those were in Cass County.

“It’s pretty widespread,” Knodel said. “You can pretty much find it anywhere”

Numbers from this year are expected to have the largest increase so far.

“When you are coming inside from being outside from hiking and exploring nature, just do a double check,” Knodel said.

Knodel says it can be difficult to spot the type of tick that carries Lyme Disease, the Blacklegged Tick, as it is only two millimeters long when fully grown.

That's why checking yourself thoroughly for these pests is extremely important to avoid getting sick.

“it is very serious,” Knodel said. “If it goes untreated it can result in heart failure and you get arthritic joints.”

If a tick is found attached, she says removal within 24 hours usually prevents the disease from spreading, but testing is the best way to make sure you are safe.

“We offer a test that's pretty simple,” said Dan Parker, Any Lab Test Now Owner in Fargo. “It’s a blood test. Turnaround time is two to four days.”

The tick itself can also be brought into labs to identify it.

NDSU does offer tick identification in their plant diagnostics lab.

It is recommended that people take precautions and use insect repellent with DEET. Also, wear protective clothing to keep ticks away.

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