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More ticks could mean more Lyme disease

Updated: Tuesday, May 13 2014, 08:52 AM EDT

Rochester, N.Y. -- Veterinarians and diagnosticians said despite the very cold winter, ticks seem to be more prevalent in New York state.

"I know with the samples I have coming in, I'm up at least 100 percent," said Liz Berkeley, a diagnostician at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Highland Park. "I see all deer ticks right now."

Those deer ticks tend to carry Lyme disease, which left untreated, can cause infection that spreads to joints, the heart and nervous system. It generally causes fever, headaches, fatigue and a characteristic skin rash called erythema according to the Center for Disease Control.

Pittsford veterinarian Todd Wihlen said he is seeing a large jump in the number of dogs with ticks.

"There's been a huge increase in this area," Wihlen said of Monroe County. "After the winter we had, we didn't think we'd see the numbers, but they've been back just as hard."

Although Lyme disease is not contagious between dogs and humans, Whilen said dog owners could still be at risk.

"That tick the dog brings home could give you Lyme disease," he continued. "And also depending on if you walk your dog, you could get a tick from the same area your dog received the tick."

Whilen added that people, rather than dogs, tend to be more vulnerable once exposed to Lyme disease.

Counties in near the Finger Lakes have recently reported increases in Lyme disease.

Broome County Health Department Director Claudia Edwards told 13WHAM News there have already been five cases confirmed during the month of April, and said those numbers are likely low.

According to the New York State Health Department, more than 95,000 cases of Lyme disease have been confirmed since 1986.

More ticks could mean more Lyme disease

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