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Sportsman Outdoors

Deer Tick Virus!

Jack Danchak
Posted 5/6/22

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced that Deer Tick Virus (DTV) has been detected at high levels in black-legged ticks found on deer near Tunkhannock, …

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Sportsman Outdoors

Deer Tick Virus!

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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced that Deer Tick Virus (DTV) has been detected at high levels in black-legged ticks found on deer near Tunkhannock, PA.

DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said, “The weather is getting nicer and more people are going out and enjoying trails near their hometowns, but they should also be aware that the DTV is increasing in tick populations. They should plan now on how to protect themselves so they can avoid health complications in the future.”

Although Lyme disease is more common, DTV can be fatal. About 12 percent of people infected with DTV, nationwide, have died. While some infected individuals are asymptomatic, others may feel like they are coming down with the flu.

Infected ticks transmit DTV to humans and other hosts by embedding in their skin and feeding on their blood. Unlike Lyme disease, which a tick can transmit within 36 hours, infection with DTV can occur in as few as 15 minutes.

Christian Boyd, DEP’s tick specialist said, “DTV is passed primarily by rodents, particularly the white-footed field mouse. If there are more mice in an area, there’s a greater chance of a higher infection rate. But a mouse has a limited home range, so the virus will stay contained, and its lifespan is not that long, so it’s possible an infected adult population might die off.”

DEP advises folks heading Outdoors to protect against ticks by applying a repellent containing permethrin to clothing, and an EPA-registered insect repellent, such as DEET, to exposed skin. Tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks. Wearing light colored outer clothing makes ticks more noticeable.

DEP also advises staying in the center of a trail and avoiding tall grasses and leaf cover. Ticks find hosts by sitting on a leaf or a blade of grass in a stance called “questing” with their front legs stretched forward, ready to latch onto an animal or person who brushes against them. Ticks do not jump.

Folks returning from the outdoors should remove and place clothes into a dryer set to high heat, and conduct a full body scan for evidence of ticks. Pets should be examined too. If a tick is found, it should be removed completely with tweezers.

With trout season underway and turkey hunting season started, anglers and hunters should use caution and protect themselves by wearing tick repellent clothing or carrying a small container of tick repellent DEET, and enjoy outdoor activities.

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