A year-round problem for many, CDC says 2017 a record year for tickborne illness reports

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    Victor, N.Y. (13WHAM) - Doreen Benschop recalls plucking dozens of ticks off her two dogs earlier this fall, after the pair got out to the woods behind her home.

    She says she wore several layers outside to keep ticks away when she brought the dogs back.

    "And then I came in and check myself, and inside my sweatshirt, under my raincoat. I found eight ticks," said Benschop, who lives in Victor.

    She says one of her dogs died last year after suffering from Lyme Disease. Three weeks ago, she found a tick embedded in her own arm, prompting a visit to the doctor.

    "It’s frustrating," she said. "It’s frustrating, but what can you do about it?"

    Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control says it received a record number of tick-borne illness reports in 2017.

    In some area counties, such as Ontario and Monroe, reports of tick bites and cases of Lyme Disease are trending downward for 2018, but health officials say the issue is still a priority.

    Ontario County Public Health Director Mary Beer says the issue is not limited to a specific season, and can still pose a hazard as sub-freezing temperatures and snow move into the area.

    "It’s anytime that temperature goes up, they can pop out; they don’t necessarily die off," said Beer. "When it’s really cold, they’ll burrow and they’ll stay away, but when it warms up, we’re fair game."

    Beer stresses that not all ticks can carry and spread illnesses like Lyme Disease.

    Benschop knows that, too. But that doesn't mean she's going to stop protecting her dogs or herself against ticks.

    "I’m not going to live my life indoors, but I try to be real careful and check myself real well," said Benschop.

    For tips on how to protect yourself and your pets against tick bites, click here.

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