Lyme Disease numbers increase in northern U.S.

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Health officials in the northern U.S. said we could see an increase in the number of Lyme disease cases.

24-Hour News 8 talked with Purdue entomologist Tom Turpin about protecting people and pets from the disease.

“As soon as the weather starts warming up, then they are present and become active, so we can see them early in the warm days,” said Turpin.

Turpin is talking about ticks. Just finding one on a pet or a person can be frightening and it seems the long, cold winter did nothing to reduce the their population.

“What is more important to their survival would be fluctuations, so if we have cold followed by warm followed by cold, all of this is a lot more detrimental,” Turpin said.

Turpin said a person is more likely to get a tick in a wooded area. He said wearing proper clothing is the best way to protect yourself.

“The first thing you do is cover up; When you come out in an environment like this and you want to walk out into the tall vegetation, you need to make sure you not wearing shorts,” Turpin said.

Rick Habig is the owner of Habig Garden Shops. He found a tick crawling on him recently. He took action by spraying his yard. Habig said there are several products on the market used to kill ticks like Eight insect control and Sevin Bug Killer.

Habig chose Dr. Earth, an organic product to put on his lawn he says is safe for plants and animals.

“It’s got different oils in it; not only do the oils repel but they also suffocate insects that they cover,” he said.

Turpin said pet owners need to medicate their pets to help protect them. Veterinarians prescribe collars or an oral medication. He said if you find a tick on your pet, there’s also a proper way to remove it.

“Take a pair of tweezers, sort of like this and then you use the tweezers right at the base of where the tick is attached so that you pulled them out gently so you don’t leave the mouth parts in your skin,” Turpin said.

The Indiana Department of Health reports since 1990, there have been 280 Lyme Disease cases found from 70 counties across the state. 20 of those cases were found here in Marion County.

Learn more about Lyme Disease prevention at the Indiana Department of Health website. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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