This month

July 2019

Coming to Terms With My Tick Anxiety, The Slate, July 3, 2019This past weekend, when I spotted a tick on my own child’s head, the fear I felt was something else. We took it off solemnly, with ceremony, and put it away for safekeeping—labeled with the date, in case she got sick and we needed to show it to a doctor. Ticks are terrifying now. And in the Northeast and the Upper Midwest, there are more of them than ever, or at least, more of them than we remember seeing.

Lyme disease is spreading across Michigan. But why?, Bridge, July 1, 2019The ticks typically live 2- to 3 years, and many factors can affect their numbers, including temperature, rainfall, humidity and availability of hosts to feed on. Michigan has plenty of such wildlife, which includes white-tailed deer, white-footed mice, chipmunks, shrews and American robins, said Jean Tsao, a professor at Michigan State University who has studied the blacklegged tick and its spread of bacteria for more than two decades.
But why is the bacteria spreading now, when it didn’t before? Researchers aren’t sure, Tsao said. One hypothesis: Michigan’s tick invasion, which probably spilled over from Wisconsin, just took a while to creep around Lake Michigan. But the U.P.’s Menominee County has seen infected blacklegged ticks since the late 1980s or early 1990s — apparently before they infiltrated northeast Wisconsin. Those Menominee spread west and north. It’s possible, but not likely that the Menominee ticks spilled into the Lower Peninsula. “We cannot say for sure.” Climate change may also play a role.

A woman, a tick, and the fight in Michigan over Lyme disease, Bridge, July 1, 2019In a Lansing hearing room recently, a Clarklake woman and others laid bare what they said were the misdiagnoses, misfired treatments, confusion, disrespect and doubt by medical professionals before they were finally told ‒ sometimes, years later ‒ they’d been infected with tick-borne Lyme disease.
Lyme disease has been on the climb in Michigan for more than a decade, yet many cases are not counted because they fall short of the diagnostic guidelines set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A missed diagnosis can lead to serious, lifelong consequences.

Oh Deer!, Reason, July 201930 million of Bambi’s buddies are on the loose in the U.S., causing crop damage and car accidents. Markets can help. Part of the reason for the rise of these programs is a steady national decline in the original wildlife management tool: sport hunting. Participation has fallen from 11 percent of American adults in 1960 to just 4 percent today. In an era of overabundance, it seems odd, if not outright counterproductive, for so many U.S. state and federal policies to cling to long-standing prohibitions on marketing game.

June 2019

Tick and Mosquito Surveillance Program launches in Washtenaw County, MLive, June 27, 2019In an effort to track and prevent disease-infected mosquito and tick bites, the Washtenaw County Health Department has launched a Tick and Mosquito Surveillance Program. Seventeen residents were diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2018, seven of whom who likely contracted the disease in the county, the release said. To avoid tick bites, the health department recommends using insect repellent with at least 20 percent DEET; clothing that covers skin; avoiding wooded or bushy areas, including high grass and leaf litter; examining clothes and pet for ticks; showing after being outside; and using a hand-held mirror to check body for fleas, the release said.

Deer Get by with a Little Help from Bat Friends, Scientific American, June 2019Minnesota white-tailed deer have found an unlikely ally in bats, which eat the biting flies the deer attract
Maps Show How Dog Blood Samples Can Predict Lyme Disease Risks, Inverse, June 20, 2019Even if humans haven’t yet reported cases, Michael Yabsley, Ph.D., a professor at The University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, tells Inverse that canine blood samples may hold important clues for where the disease is getting more common.
“Dogs can be used as sentinels for where people may have Lyme disease,” Yabsley says. “They are also useful for determining if Lyme disease is becoming more common in an area. Dogs are often outside, in tick habitat and a great sentinel for where ticks may be active.”

Chronic Wasting Disease Among Free-Ranging Cervids by County, United States, CDC, June 7, 2019As of June 7, 2019, there were 274 counties in 24 states with reported CWD in free-ranging cervids.

Michigan sets ‘potential high-risk areas’ around TB-positive deer, Feedstuffs, June 20, 2019On April 12, the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) designated parts of Iosco and Ogemaw counties in the state as a “potential high-risk area” for bovine tuberculosis (TB). After free-ranging deer tests positive for bovine TB, cattle and bison herds in risk area need to be tested.
City, township officials invited to urban deer management workshop July 22, MI DNR, June 19, 2019City and township officials and others from across the state interested in learning about options to reduce the negative effects of deer in their communities are invited to attend an urban deer management workshop Monday, July 22. Hosted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the city of Rochester Hills, the free workshop will run 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm, located at 1005 Van Hoosen Road.

UP Deer Movement: Results, Wildlife Conservation, June 2019Article provides interactive maps that show the movements of collared white-tailed deer during February-June 2019 that were captured in Little Girls Point (green), Lake Gogebic (red), West Iron County (light blue), and East Middle Branch (yellow) deer wintering complexes and the chronic wasting disease core area in southern Dickinson County (magenta). The observed expansion by deer during April shows typical spring migration back to their summer range. Deer in the greater snowfall belts (North and West) typically migrate further than deer in the lesser snowfall belts (South and East).

Officer’s vehicle struck after responding to crash with deer north of Ann Arbor, MLive, June 17, 2019A Northfield Township police officer’s car was struck while responding car-deer crash, causing traffic backups along North Territorial Road Monday, June 17.
Distribution of Chronic Wasting Disease in North America, USGS, updated June 2019

A deadly deer disease is spreading. Could it strike people, too?, Washington Post, June 14, 2019More than half a century after it was first detected, the disease is now spreading rapidly. Last winter, Tennessee became the latest of 24 states to report CWD infections, which have also been found in two Canadian provinces, Norway, Finland and South Korea. Now, as it strikes animals across a widening territory, concern is growing among scientists and public health officials that the disease might leap to humans.
CWD is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, another of which did jump species: mad cow disease. In humans, mad cow disease is known as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and it has killed more than 220 people worldwide since the 1990s. Some experts say that in a nation with an estimated 10 million deer hunters harvesting 6 million deer a year and eating many of them, it may be just a matter of time before chronic wasting makes its way to us.

Breakthrough in chronic wasting disease research reveals distinct deer, elk prion strains, Science Daily, June 11, 2019Infectious proteins called prions cause a group of related, fatal and incurable neurodegenerative disorders, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy or Mad Cow disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, both of which affect humans.

Missouri agency seeks input on rules to combat deer disease, AP, June 9, 2019The department’s Conservation Commission is seeking public comments through early August on the proposed regulations that would further restrict how deer carcasses are transported, the Springfield News-Leader reported. The rules also outline how meat processors and taxidermists should dispose of deer parts.
Northeastern U.S. deer more susceptible to wasting disease than those to the west, Science Daily, June 6, 2019Some deer are more susceptible to chronic wasting disease that is spreading through herds of white-tailed deer across much of the United States, according to researchers, who have identified a panel of genetic markers that reliably predict which animals are most vulnerable to the contagious neurological disorder.

Killing wolves was supposed to solve a problem but created issue with coyotes, Denver Post, June 3, 2019Like every state east of the Mississippi River, Illinois is worried about its growing population of city-slicker coyotes. The animals surged from their original habitat in the West after what many now consider a colossal mistake — government-sanctioned predator removal programs that virtually wiped out red and gray wolves. Coyotes have been taking over the territory of wolves, their mortal enemies, ever since.

DEER NEWS: Deer Join Michigan Man on Sunday Morning Run, June 3, 2019

Lyme Disease Cases in Washtenaw County Residents, Washtenaw County Health Dept, June 2019

May 2019

City of Ann Arbor Deer Management Program Evaluation, Rev. 05/28/2019, May 2019Respondents expressed widely varied sentiments toward the deer population in general. Approximately 29 percent of respondents city-wide said they felt “Mostly positive” toward the deer population, compared to 19 percent who answered “Mostly negative” and 31 percent who answered, “Both positive and negative.” Nearly half (44 to 45 percent) of all 3+ year residents city-wide indicated that deer / vehicle accidents, damage from over-browsing, and an increase in the deer population have been a “serious problem” over the last 3 years, one-fourth or fewer (25 percent or less) said any of these were “not at all a problem.”
The Albino Deer at Kensington Metropark had Twin Fawns,, May 2908, 2019We discovered yesterday that the albino deer that calls Kensington Metropark home gave birth to a set of twin fawns.

Sen. Collins calls for $100 million federal response to fight tick-borne diseases, Portland Press Herald, May 23, 2019Maine Sen. Susan Collins on Thursday introduced a bill that would devote more than $100 million in new federal spending to combat Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. The bill also would create an Office of Oversight and Coordination for Vector-Borne Disease at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and re-authorize Regional Centers of Excellence in Vector-Borne Disease for an additional five years, funded at $10 million per year.
Deer cull program survives as Ann Arbor council adopts new city budget, MLive, May 21, 2019Council Member Jeff Hayner’s proposal to eliminate funding for the deer management program was defeated with an 8-2 vote, with only Mayor Christopher Taylor supporting the move.

Michigan Traffic Crash Facts

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Deer culls are associated with reducing vehicle collisions from the pre-cull peak of 90 in 2015.
Deer vehicle crashes in City of Ann Arbor in 2018: 55 (3rd cull)
Deer vehicle crashes in City of Ann Arbor in 2017: 56 (2nd cull)
Deer vehicle crashes in City of Ann Arbor in 2016 73 (year of first cull)
Deer vehicle crashes in City of Ann Arbor in 2015 90
Deer vehicle crashes in City of Ann Arbor in 2014 51

Hunters would be protected from cell phone harassment under House bill, MLive, May 21, 2019House Bill 4340, sponsored by state Rep. John Reilly, R-Oakland Township, would amend the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act to make it illegal to record someone who is lawfully taking an animal or fish.
Yes, there are a lot more Lyme disease-carrying ticks in Pa. today: Penn State study, PennLive, May 8, 2019The tick responsible for most cases of Lyme diseases has boomed from nearly non-existence in Pennsylvania in the 1960s to the most commonly found tick across the state today, according to Penn State researchers. They believe the blacklegged tick population might have exploded in recent years because timber that was cut down around 1900 is growing back and providing ticks with an expanded habitat, increasing their contact with people.

Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome Cases Are on the Rise, and Doctors Don’t Know Why, Newsweek, May 15, 2019Because of a proliferation of white-tailed deer and other mammals that harbor the microbe and a seemingly endless supply of ticks to transfer it from deer to human bloodstreams, an estimated 300,000 people are infected each year in the United States. Left untreated, Lyme disease does a lot of damage: It can attack the heart and nervous system and trigger arthritis. For reasons that are obscure, one in 10 patients treated for Lyme disease continue to have symptoms for months and even years. These patients fall into a gray area called post-treatment Lyme disease (PTLD) syndrome, which is characterized by cognitive dysfunction, incapacitating fatigue and chronic pain, according to a study published in April in the journal BMC Public Health. The cost to the medical system is estimated at up to $1 billion a year in the U.S.

Turning up the heat on ticks: Couple invent dryer bag to toss your clothes in, Pittsburgh’s Action News, May 8, 2019Michael and Abbey Novotny, of Slippery Rock, Butler County, say they’ve created something that can stop ticks before they get inside the house. “The Termitick is a bag that you place your clothes in after coming in from the outdoors, and then you take the entire bag and throw it in the dryer,” Michael Novotny said. High heat from the dryer kills the bugs, and the bag keeps the dead ones contained, the Novotnys said. “If you wash your clothes first, it actually gives the ticks moisture, where they will survive the dry cycle.”

Those deer on your lawn? They’re delivering disease-ridden ticks to your doorstep, USA Today, May 7, 2019“The phenomena of deer in more places and in ever-increasing proximity to people is, I think, the largest factor affecting the ticks-in-more-places trend,” said Mather, who calls springtime “almost a perfect storm” for ticks. Black-legged ticks that carry Lyme disease “are far and away most responsible for tick-borne diseases,” he said. Tick-borne disease cases more than doubled from 2004 to 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Lyme disease accounted for 82% of all cases. Efforts to manage deer have been too little, too late, DeNicola said, and quiet residential areas.
What’s needed is a paradigm change, DeNicola said, for Americans to view deer less like majestic Bambis and more like health threats that spread diseases.

Tick season in Michigan: How to stay safe as lyme disease risk spreads east, Click On Detroit, May 3, 2019 Tick season has arrived in Michigan – and that’s not a good thing. Although ticks can spread multiple illnesses, Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne disease in Michigan. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted by the blacklegged/deer tick. Typical clinical signs of Lyme Disease include flu-like symptoms however, if left untreated may spread to joints, the heart, and/or the nervous system. The majority of cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics. Finding and removing ticks promptly can prevent Lyme disease.

<Research continues on fatal deer disease, Illinois Farmer Today, May 1, 2019“A real concern is that these prions can build up in the soil and can be incorporated into the roots of plants, and into the vegetative material as well. They don’t decay very rapidly. They can remain for period of five years in the soil.”
In parts of Wisconsin, it’s infecting more than every other adult male in the deer population, Dufford said. The rate has been doubling every four to five years.

Recently Added

* DWR discontinues translocation in urban deer program, Utah Div of Wildlife Resources, May 2, 2019The urban deer program was launched in 2014 as a way to give cities the ability to deal with ever-increasing deer/human conflicts in expanding urban areas. The program gave municipalities two main removal options: lethal removal and non-lethal removal (by capturing and relocating the deer). After weighing the benefits and risks associated with the non-lethal removal option, the DWR has made the decision to discontinue the translocation part of the urban deer program. Research also showed that the translocation efforts didn’t significantly change public feedback regarding conflicts with urban deer. The reasons for discontinuing the program include: Preventing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease and 50% survival rates for relocated deer

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