Increase in disease-carrying ticks expected in Westport
WESTPORT—As the weather warms up town residents should be particularly wary of ticks when enjoying the outdoors.
“It looks like we are going have quite a few ticks this year because of the weather. Because it was a pretty mild winter,” said Monica Wheeler, director of community health for the Westport Weston Health District.
Deer ticks carrying Lyme and two other diseases are of particular concern in town.
“In this area of the country, we see deer ticks carrying Lyme disease, babesiosis and anaplasmosis,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler said the most common host for tick infection is the white-footed deer mouse and that ticks can carry just one disease or be co-infected by all three.
According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, in 2015, the most recent year for which the state had numbers, Westport had nine total cases of Lyme disease (five confirmed and four probable.) Wheeler said the number of actual cases is probably around 90 because Lyme disease, which is not contagious, tends to be significantly underreported.
Overall in Fairfield County, there were 430 total cases with 303 confirmed and 127 probable instances. Statewide, there were 2,553 total cases, 1,885 confirmed and 668 probable.