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State warns of tick exposure as weather warms


(Delaware Public Media) – Ticks are active in Delaware year-round. But warmer weather means more Delawareans are spending time outside, where they can come into contact with ticks.

Paula Eggers, an epidemiologist with the state Division of Public Health (DPH), says younger ticks can pose a greater threat to humans early in the season.

“In the spring through the summer months is when the nymphs are the most active,” she said. “Those are the very tiny ones that are very hard to detect on your body when you’re exposed. And they’re likely the cause of a lot of the tick-borne illness simply because they attach to the body and people can’t see them as readily. ”

Eggers says Delaware is among the top ten high-incidence states for lyme disease, which is carried by the blacklegged tick. But other tick-borne illnesses can be contracted in Delaware.

“Lyme is our biggest culprit here,” she said. “But also we see Spotted Fever, rickettsiosis, we see ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis— and those diseases tend to cause a more serious illness which often requires hospitalization.”

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