Tick Season Has Arrived in The Berkshires
The Berkshire Eagle reports tick season has arrived, and Massachusetts residents should be vigilant of the tiny parasites and the symptoms of the diseases they spread, the Department of Public Health said in a statement issued Wednesday.
"Every season is bad for ticks because the climate we live in is literally the perfect climate for ticks," said Kayla Donnelly-Winters, Pittsfield's public health nurse manager.
The bugs usually are found in shady, damp, brushy, wooded, or grassy areas, including backyards. The most common ticks are black-legged deer ticks and dog ticks, which are found throughout Massachusetts and can spread different disease-causing germs when they bite, according to the DPH.
The most common tick-borne diseases in Massachusetts are Lyme disease, babesiosis and anaplasmosis. Other diseases that are rarer, but do occur, are tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Borrelia miyamotoi and Powassan virus, the statement said.
During the 2017 season, there were 123 reports of Lyme disease in Pittsfield, according to Donnelly-Winters, who said that, generally, the illness is underreported. There were 36 cases of anaplasmosis.
Both diseases present flulike symptoms, but some people might not show any symptoms when they contract Lyme disease, she said.
"I don't talk to everybody with Lyme disease, but Lyme disease can be completely asymptomatic. Most people will not get the bull's-eye rash," she said. "I do follow up on all other tick-borne illnesses."
While there was a slight decrease in Lyme cases last year, Donnelly-Winters expects the numbers this year to look more like in 2017, because the season started a bit earlier.