Warm Winter May Lead to Uptick in Ticks in South Jersey

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VOORHEES, N.J. -

South Jersey is no stranger to ticks.

“As we start to see the blue skies and sun and warmer temperatures we start seeing the deer ticks really becoming a problem in the population,” says Dr. Martin Topiel, director of infection prevention at Virtua Health.

He says deer ticks are the most common culprits in the Garden State for spreading infections. Thanks to a mild winter, this year may be a popular one for them.

“This year some people are predicting that there might be an increase tick load," says Topiel. "But, sometimes, our best predictions are incorrect,”

The possibility of more ticks, means the possibility for more infections.

“We see frankly a host of different infections. Some are more well known by the public, some are less common," says Dr. Topiel. "Certainly, Lyme disease is well known in the area, it’s been around for years."

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Recently, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been warning many of the Powassan virus, which causes neurological infections.

“It’s a virus," says Topiel. "There’s only been 75 cases throughout the whole country in the last 10 years and three of those have been in New Jersey. It’s just that we compiled this information now and become more aware of it."

Some areas tend to have a higher uptick of the tiny, itchy creatures.

“In the wood areas, walking down woods, hikes, on the golf course,” says Topiel.

It can be difficult to avoid these areas all together. So, he suggests wearing longer pants and long-sleeve shirts to cover up those areas on your body where ticks are most likely to attach.

“We want to do tick checks every 24 hours in those kind of circumstances and make sure ticks haven’t attached to us to give us the opportunity that they’ve transmitted an infection,” says Topiel.

But, according to Topiel, most of the time medical attention is not needed.

“But, certainly, anytime somebody has a fever, headache, muscle ache after they know they’ve had a tick bite they should seek medical attention,” says Topiel.

When it comes to ticks, he recommends doing checks frequently throughout the warmer months.


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