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HomeHealth & FitnessDeer spread Lyme ticks in suburban backyard

Deer spread Lyme ticks in suburban backyard

Steven Lineberg
HealthDay Reporter

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 (HealthDay News)—— They look cute and graze quietly in your backyard. But a new study suggests that an overpopulation of white-tailed deer in the northeastern United States may help spread Lyme disease and another tick-borne disease, anaplasmosis, especially in suburban areas.

The study points out that these deer, which carry the ticks that transmit the two diseases, are no longer confined to forested areas, but Often living in the yard of a suburban home increases the risk of infection. transmission.

“Your yard is their home, if you’re concerned about ticks or tick management, or the damage it might cause, Then you need to recognize that this is where they actually choose to live, either to work with them or against them,” said lead researcher Jennifer Mullinax. She is an assistant professor of wildlife ecology and management at the University of Maryland.

The deer themselves do not pose a health threat. But, Mullinax explained, the black-legged (deer tick) and lone star ticks they carry transmit Lyme disease and other diseases.

Lyme disease is caused by infected Bacterial infection caused by tick bites. It can cause symptoms such as rash, fever, headache and fatigue. If left untreated, it can spread to the heart, joints, and nervous system. Anaplasmosis causes similar symptoms and can lead to bleeding and kidney failure. The ticks that cause these diseases can inhabit and breed on your lawn.

As development erodes their habitat, deer live closer to humans, while the landscape provides a backdrop of meadows, shrubs and flowers, Mulley Nax said. Your lawn is “warm, safe, less predatory, and convenient,” she says.

This five-year study found that suburban deer frequently spend the night within 55 yards of human dwellings.

For the study, Mullinax’s team tracked 51 deer equipped with GPS tracking devices.

Trackers show that deer avoid residential areas during the day, but are attracted to them at night, especially in winter. These animals often sleep near the edges of lawns and in the yards of houses and apartment buildings.

Deer populations in residential areas are so high, increasing human exposure to tick-borne diseases, Mullinax said. Reducing the tick population by removing deer or treating deer bedridden areas can help limit the spread of the disease, she said.

Management studies point out that deer hunting can help control tick populations, but culling deer herds can be difficult to accomplish. It added that people did not want to hunt in the suburbs and that chemically reducing deer fertility had not worked.

Mullinax says it’s possible to limit access to your yard by installing a deer fence or covering a barrier, but a better way to prevent disease Probably to control the tick population.

“Most people get Lyme disease from ticks in the yard. There are many different ways to control ticks ,”she says. “For county-level agencies and state-level agencies, it is indeed instructing them to make some adjustments in the management of deer herds.”

Dr. Marc Siegel, professor of clinical medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, reviewed the findings.

He offers several ways to reduce ticks in the yard Quantity strategy: Cut your grass short. Get your yard sprayed with ticks. Use tick repellent. Check your body and clothing for ticks after spending time outdoors.

“I tell them to look for lumps on their scalp and pubic area,” Siegel said. “I told them, if you’re tired, it’s probably not coronavirus — it’s probably Lyme disease.”

Because Lyme Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose, and Siegel said he’s not afraid to prescribe antibiotics if he suspects Lyme disease based on symptoms alone.

“I’m in the category of an over-therapist,” he said. “But this study doesn’t make me look bad because it’s basically saying these things are out of control. We expect to see more disease.”

The study was published online Sept. 17 in the journal Urban Ecosystems

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More information

For more information on Lyme disease, see the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

source: Jennifer Mullinax, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Management, University of Maryland, College Park; Marc Siegel, M.D., Clinical Professor of Medicine, NYU Langone Medical Center;

Urban Ecosystem, Online, September 17, 2022

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