Monday, May 24, 2021 - 10:56am

Anyone who has spent time in Wisconsin, likely knows a thing or two about the prevalence of ticks in the spring and summer. However, according to a recent survey conducted by the University of Wisconsin Department of Entomology, only 25% of 130 respondents could identify the ticks that transmit Lyme disease.

“You might be able to identify, ‘hey, that’s a tick’, but may not be able to identify one species of tick from another. So having a resource like The Tick App is a great tool for tick identification. Just snap a picture and a member of the Wisconsin tick team will identify it for you,” says Susan Paskewitz, Director of the Midwest Center of Excellence for Vectorborne Disease.

The University of Wisconsin uses information collected through the free app, which has 9,000 downloads, to “help understand how people's activities affect the risk of finding a tick and design interventions with this in mind,” says Paskewitz.

In Dane County, there has been an increase of Lyme disease cases in recent years, with an average of 136 cases per year. Symptoms can occur anywhere from three to 30 days after a bite and include fever, rash, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes.

“While identification is important, what we’re really working toward is prevention. That’s the best tool we have to avoid tick-borne disease,” says Amanda Kita-Yarbro, Communicable Disease Epidemiologist for Public Health Madison & Dane County.

  • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass, and walk in the center of trails.
  • Use repellents containing 20-30% DEET on both exposed skin and clothing.
  • Tuck pant legs into socks, and shirts into pants.
  • Perform daily full-body tick checks, even if you were only in your back yard.

Learn more about the Tick app: https://thetickapp.org/midwest/wisconsin/

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