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Cold weather doesn't impact ticks that carry Lyme disease

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  If you think the cold winter reduced your chances of getting Lyme disease, think again. U-W Madison entomology professor Susan Paskewitz said she's heard from many people who hoped that the extreme cold might have killed off a lot of disease-carrying ticks. But it didn't happen. Paskewitz tells Wisconsin Public Radio that she and her team found 50 deer ticks early last month in a relatively small area in Dane County. She said the ticks have probably adapted to colder winters, staying warm and cozy even in harsh conditions.

Paskewitz said Wisconsin's ticks are more likely to carry Lyme disease than in the past. A study from U-W Eau Claire released last fall bears that out. It said that just over a third of ticks collected in 21 counties tested positive for Lyme. A state health official blamed an expanding tick population at the time.