“Summer is just about here, and it is shaping up to be a buggy one when it comes to ticks and Lyme disease.
If you plan on golfing this summer or swimming at the beach or taking a walk through the woods, it’s not what you want to hear.
“Yes, this could be quite a bad tick year,” said Holly Tuten of the Illinois Natural History Survey. “We have several factors indicating that. We have factors indicating Lyme might be more prevalent in the tick population.””
It’s bug season which in Illinois means ticks (which are actually arachnids, not insects), mosquitoes and other insects are looking to attach themselves to people and pets. The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and here in Illinois, there is a team of entomologists working to track tick and mosquito populations, and trying to discern how climate change is affecting their populations.
The 21st spoke with an ecologist and a mosquito expert about how climate change is affecting mosquito populations and diseases ticks can transmit.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers report that the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, has become more abundant across Illinois in the past three decades. Its spread is problematic, as the mosquito can transmit diseases – like chikungunya or dengue fever – to humans.
The Asian tiger mosquito originated in the forests of southeast Asia. It found its way to Texas around 1985 and very quickly spread to Illinois.
The Gulf Coast tick is usually found in the Southeast along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, but researchers at the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) and Southern Illinois University (SIU) have new evidence of the Gulf Coast tick becoming established in Illinois. They also have found that it often harbors a pathogen that can make people sick.