The tick testing program at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) is reporting higher tick abundance in the state this spring, and larger numbers of ticks infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease and other tick-borne pathogens.
According to Dr. Goudarz Molaei, who directs the tick testing program, “we have received over 450 ticks so far this year and nearly 38% have tested positive for Lyme disease spirochetes, 10% for Babesia microti, the causative agent of babesiosis, and 5% for Anaplasma phagocytophilum, the causative agent of human granulocytic anaplasmosis.”
The higher tick abundance appears to be related to lower winter temperatures in the state during the last two years, the tick testing lab said.
Over the past five years, the laboratory has received 12,483 ticks from Connecticut residents or health departments for testing, and on average 27% tested positive for the Lyme disease agent.
“Although we have yet to reach peak tick activity this spring, adult deer ticks, Ixodes scapularis, are already active and biting residents in greater numbers,” said Dr. Theodore Andreadis, director of CAES. “At this time of year, personal protection measures and conducting tick checks remain the most effective ways to reduce the risk of tick-borne diseases.”