Early winter weather seems to pose no threat for one of Wisconsin's most prevalent parasitesSubmitted: 11/06/2019
Story By Zackery White

Early winter weather seems to pose no threat for one of Wisconsin's most prevalent parasites
RHINELANDER - An early winter seems to pose no threat to one of Wisconsin's most prevalent parasites.

That may lead to the spread of tick-borne illnesses if proper precautions aren't taken.

Last year, Wisconsin had over 3100 cases of Lyme disease, according to the state Department of Health Services. 

Over the past decade, the number of cases has more than doubled.

The early winter weather does not seem to kill off ticks like it normally would.

Dr. Andreas Kogelnik, a physician at the Howard Young Medical Center says that this is likely due to changing weather patterns.

"We are seeing the season being larger and broader across the country, largely likely due to climate change," said Kogelnik.

 An extended tick season is not only in Wisconsin but across the nation. 

Researchers do attribute the length of the season mostly to climate change, but Dr. Kogelnik says that it can also depend on many different other types of environmental factors.

"Different insects have different tolerances to cold and will also depend on if they're on a moose deep in the fur they're less likely to be affected by the cold on the deer where the fur might be a little thinner," said Kogelnik.

An extended tick season also overlaps with Flu season. Jenny Miller, a Nurse Practitioner at the Rhinelander Aspirus clinic says that there could be some potential misdiagnosis between the two.

"Lyme disease often mimics flu-like symptoms, with the tired achy joins and the feeling overall poorly and people with influenza often get higher fevers and influenza only typical lasts for 6 to 10 days," said Miller.

It's recommended that you take the same precautions now, that you would in the warmer months. 

Miller says that there are several ways to keep yourself protected.

"You should spray down with Deet and you can also treat your clothes with Permethrin which you can get over the counter, but you can also buy clothes are pre-treated with Permethrin," said Miller".

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