Warning: Ticks likely abundant in Kansas City this summer

Posted at 5:46 PM, Jun 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-06 06:02:59-04

Health and agriculture professionals are warning everyone in the region that ticks and the diseases they carry could be on the rise this summer.

The concern comes after consecutive mild winters and an increase in tick activity this spring.

"We've already seen a lot of calls in the office,” said Rick Miller with the K-State research extension of Johnson County. "When you go into their habitat be prepared that you're gonna find some on you when you get out of there."

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Considering ticks live on the edge of branches, leaves, and shrubs in dense, wooded areas, people who spend the most time outdoors are most susceptible to being bitten. That threat also includes pets such as cats and dogs

"Shampoo them. Check them regularly. If you see ticks, pull them off,” said Miller.

Miller highly advises doing a full-body check of yourself and your pet within hours of coming indoors. If a tick is found, it’s best to remove it with a pair of tweezers and nothing else.

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Make sure that they're not attached to your body, because if you can take them off within the first 24 to 48 hours, there's very little chance they're going to have that opportunity to transfer that disease over to you,” he said.

Tick bites can sometimes include a variety of diseases. Although you can’t typically feel a tick bite, symptoms of a bite can include fever, chills, body aches and loss of appetite.

According to the CDC, hundreds of thousands of people report a tick-related illness in the U.S. every year. And while Lyme disease is rare in the Kansas City region, a plethora of other tick-related illnesses are common.

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"There are diseases that are very common around here, such as Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever,” said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, an infectious disease doctor with the University of Kansas Health System.

Two new deadly tick-related viruses have also been discovered in the region. The Heartland Virus was discovered near St. Joseph and the Bourbon Virus was discovered just three years ago, killing a man from Bourbon County, Kansas.

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.