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Risk for Lyme on the rise as more people go outdoors during coronavirus pandemic

Experts say the much needed change of scenery needs to include precautions against deer ticks

Mainers are spending a lot of time during the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, but experts say escaping isolation should include steps to protect yourself and your pets against deer ticks that carry Lyme disease.

The University of Maine Tick lab has already received more than 100 ticks for testing since January, nearly three times as many as the same period last year More than half of those ticks have the bacteria that causes Lyme. 

Mild temperatures this winter has allowed ticks to survive and be active earlier this season.

As families are out for walks or doing yard work experts recommend tick checks on themselves and their pets.

Experts have also been receiving a lot of questions about if ticks can carry the virus that causes COVID-19. 

"There is no evidence that ticks, mosquitoes, biting pests are able to transmit the coronavirus," said Griffin Dill of the University of Maine Tick Lab. 

People are being urged to wear protective clothing and use repellent that contains permethrin.

The UMaine Tick Lab has also launched an interactive map displaying which communities ticks have been reported, for more information go here

For real-time data on cases of Lyme and other tick-borne infections reported to the Maine CDC click here.

Preventative measures how to protect yourself and your pets against ticks go here

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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