Symptoms from the incurable disease can include, but are not limited to, a headache, having a stiff neck, aches and pains in both your muscles and your joints, a fever and chills, feelings of fatigue, having a low or no appetite and swollen and painful gland, according to John's Hopkins Medicine.

And now the number of confirmed Lyme disease cases in the state of Maine has skyrocketed. If we look at data from the Maine Center for Disease Control, 2017 saw a total number of confirmed cases at 1,852. Fast forward to 2023 and those numbers have jumped to a total of 2,943 confirmed cases last year alone.

This has prompted the University of Maine to launch a pilot program to better understand what is leading to this large spike in Lyme disease cases (caused by ticks) according to the Kennebec Journal.

The paper is reporting that just a few months into 2024 and the state has already logged 261 cases of Lyme disease and the 'tick season' is really only just beginning.

This pilot study from UMaine is set to focus on how "local weather and climate conditions and the presence of different wildlife species influence tick populations and health risks to humans", the KJ reported.

Many have argued that an expanded deer season and more deer permits being issued each year would help control the tick population. Additionally, people around Maine have also made the argument that doing the same thing with the moose hunt would also help, though currently there is no confirmed evidence that that is the case.

Hopefully, the upcoming UMaine study will give us a better understanding of what specifically is causing the large jump in numbers. Deer ticks are responsible for the transmission of Lyme (from ticks) whereas dog ticks have not been known to carry diseases like Lyme.

Griffin Dill, integrated pest management professional for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s tick lab, told the Kennebec Journal in part,

“It’s been a relatively average start to the season, but we are coming up to the real heart of tick season. We will see adult deer ticks, a peak of dog ticks, and nymphal deer ticks, all overlapping in mid-May to June.”

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