The incidents of tick-borne illnesses are away up in Missouri this summer. Missouri’s 105 cases of Erlichiosis is three times the median number at this time of year for the last five years. The 244 cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are about 187 percent more than the five-year median.
Things aren’t so bad with Lyme-like diseases. They’re up about 50 percent and cases of Tularemia are under the five-year median.
The state health department’s Karen Yates says the numbers are a trend, partly coming from improved diagnosis and partly because we’re asking for it. "The more people interface with wildlife and displace wildlife, the more opportunities there will be for people to come into contact with ticks," she says.
he says the wet weather has also presented problems. She says rain pushes wildlife out of river bottoms and they’re likely to spread ticks beyond their normal range. She says hot, dry weather puts a kink in tick activities. But our wet, foggy mornings and frequent rainfalls have been good for ticks.
One good piece of news, though, is that there have been no confirmed deaths from tick-born disease this year.