Lyme disease could spike again in 2017

Lyme Disease on the rise.

BIDDEFORD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --

Maine once again has broken a record for Lyme disease cases with over 1400 cases reported last year.

According to Dr. Meghan May, an infectious disease specialist at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, local scientists expect a bad year for Lyme disease in 2017 but not because there are more ticks.

The state's oak trees are likely to produce more acorns this year, part of a cycle that happens every few years.

Acorns are food for mice which in turn, causes them to multiply in larger numbers.

Deer ticks , which carry Lyme,  often latch onto mice and eat their blood.

If their blood carries Lyme disease and those ticks bite a human, he or she can also get the illness.

“We're talking about a mouse population boom,” said Dr. May.  “Even if you have the same number of ticks, if a  higher proportion of them are infected with Lyme disease to serve as a reservoir of Lyme disease in the environment, the more likely it is someone will have the disease given to them.”

Dr. May also had some tips to keep ticks away from your house.

They include spraying your yard with substances that kill ticks and putting traps in your yard to kill mice. 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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