Tick Problem Growing In Missouri

9 years 10 months 3 weeks ago June 08, 2007 Jun 8, 2007 Friday, June 08 2007 Friday, June 08, 2007 4:26:07 PM CDT in News
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This year, there were an increased number of tick-borne cases in Missouri and officials are having a tough time figuring out why ticks are now such a problem.

"A lot of times people call them seed ticks they're so tiny," said Rob Lawrence, a forest entomologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, and an expert on ticks. "Maybe the end of a pencil, eraser, in size."

Lawrence says that just because ticks are small, it doesn't mean they're not growing in numbers, and you can't avoid them.

"What they'll do, they'll crawl up on top of, off and on top of tall grass or on brush or something, and they'll just be sitting up there on top of that of that grass stem or whatever and with the legs out just kinda waiting for something to come by."

Officials say you can get a tick almost anywhere, especially in rural areas along trails, like the Katy Trail. You can also get them in cities as well."

Health officials say you can stop ticks. Prevention, they say, is key. 

"To keep, actually, ticks from finding you is probably the next thing you can do, and that works by using an insect repellent that contains DEET," said Karen Yates of the Missouri Department of Health.

Lawrence agrees, even though he's an expert. He also has to worry about the pesky creatures.

"Being an entomologist, it's hard to avoid ticks; you can get outside and just like everybody else, when you get outdoors, it's hard to avoid ticks."

The state health department says doctors have reported 16 tick-illness cases this year already, almost twice the number reported last year.

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