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Ticks Make an Early Appearance in Norwalk

NORWALK, Conn. – Warm weather brings everyone outside to Norwalk’s trails and parks. And with the unusually warm – and seemingly brief – winter, that means ticks also will be making an early appearance this year.

In mostly suburban Connecticut, the concern about ticks and Lyme disease is ever present.

“There is a lot of tick activity,” said Kirby Stafford of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. “With this early spring you just see a lot more activity.”

It’s the adult ticks that are moving, Stafford said. Because they’re easier to spot, that decreases the chance of contracting Lyme disease, although there is always a chance.

It’s the nymphal ticks, or the juvenile, that will be a bigger problem. “We expect to see a lot of the nymphal ticks this year,” Stafford said. Its food source – rodents and birds – enjoyed a warm winter.

Even though Norwalk is a city, there are “wooded areas in the city and in the northern part of the town,” Norwalk’s Director of Health Tim Callahan said. “We are expecting to have a busy season.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in 2010, 94 percent of Lyme disease cases were reported in just 12 states, Connecticut and New York among them.

About three-quarters of the Lyme disease­ cases reported are associated with being in the back yard, Stafford said.

Check your body for ticks after being outdoors, even if only briefly and in your own yard. When you've left a potentially tick-infested area, search your entire body for ticks. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body and remove any ticks you find. Take special care to check these parts of your child's and your body for ticks:

  • Under the arms
  • In and around the ears.
  • Inside the belly button.
  • Back of the knees.
  • In and around all head and body hair.
  • Between the legs.
  • Around the waist.
  • Ticks can be carried into the house on clothing and pets so both should be examined carefully. Placing clothes into a dryer on high heat kills ticks.

The Norwalk Health Department will help residents determine if a tick they bring into them is a deer tick or a regular tick. If it is a deer tick, Callahan said they will give the resident the option to send the tick in to be tested for Lyme disease.

“People need to be reminded, it’s getting to be that time of year when people are more active and outdoors more, and they should do more checks after being outside,” Callahan said. “It’s something that they should really be cognizant of.”

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