Posted: May 15, 2017 6:25 PM 

WKOW 27 abc was at my house today.  Video in link above.

DANE COUNTY (WKOW) — As peak tick season begins in May, public health officials are warning to be extra careful of tick-borne diseases this year.

According to officials from Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC), the number of ticks in the county has increased “significantly”, in the past few years.

They say Deer ticks carrying Lyme disease are becoming more common as their population increases.

“I look at it as if there’s a landmine anywhere in my yard,” said Alicia Cashman, of Sun Prairie, who suffers from Lyme Disease. “[I felt] flashing lights, heart palpitations, joint pain, it might be in the shoulder one day and in my knee the next [day], it didn’t really have any rhyme or reason.”

The CDC website shows that Wisconsin saw 318 more cases in 2015, the most recent year with complete data, than in 2014.

Amanda Kita-Yarbro, a Communicable Disease Epidemiologist for Public Health Madison & Dane County, says the number of reported Lyme disease cases can vary in Dane County.

“They’ve [reported cases] increased over the past three years, but then the year before that they were up around 120 [cases],” Kita-Yarbro said.

According to Kita-Yarbro, the number of reported Lyme disease cases in Dane County residents were 122 in 2013, 85 in 2014, 105 in 2015, and 127 in 2016.

But no matter the number of cases, both health officials and Cashman say anyone can catch a tick-borne disease.

“I’m a prime example, that they [ticks] don’t care about your gender, your color, if you’re thin or fat, ticks like blood and they’ll take it from whoever will give it,” Cashman said.

Health officials are also monitoring a deadly disease called Powassan, a virus that they say seems to be spreading around the country this summer.

According to PHMDC, there have not been any reported cases in Dane County.

For more information about Lyme disease in Wisconsin, click here.

Cashman also runs the Madison Lyme Support Group for anyone suffering from the disease.  For all Wisconsin Support Groups:

 **A few notes:  I would NEVER wear black when doing yard work.  I wear light colored pants and tuck them into my socks and I also wear long sleeves.  I spray my shoes, socks, pants, and sleeves with Permethrin.  Those Japanese Barberry plants in the news clip harbor many ticks and I found one on my leg just yesterday.
Contact WKOW and thank them for this story, but also tell them you want more in-depth news coverage on a Wisconsin epidemic in which many Wisconsinites go undiagnosed and untreated.  


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