Tick season is off to an early start this year in New Jersey and other Northeast states. As a result the region has seen a high number of tick-borne illnesses not just from Lyme disease, but less common infections such as babesiosis. Babesiosis comes from a parasite transmitted to people by deer ticks. These kinds of infections have trended upward over the last decade. A CDC study found that tick-borne illnesses increased by 25% between 2011 and 2019, when the US recorded 50,856 cases. in 2019. Man-made climate change have been a major factor in the rise of these diseases. Winter used to bring about a break from tick activity, as they cannot withstand cold temperatures. Milder winters have allowed the insects to remain active for almost the entire year. “Normally, we get kind of a break in tick activity during the winter months, when it’s cold, it’s snowy, but with warmer weather [and] warmer temperatures, we can and do see them active year round, unfortunately,” said Dr. Griffin Dill, tick lab coordinator at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. The climate shift has also allowed ticks to flourish in more northern regions such as Canada. Dr. Gill also explained that the way Americans landscape our homes also contributes to the thriving tick populations.
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