Ticks invading metro: What you need to know - KCTV5

Ticks invading metro: What you need to know

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Ticks are out in full force again this year in the metro.

"I'm a little surprised by that," said Rick Miller, a Kansas State University Research and Extension agent. "I would have thought with our heavy duty winter that maybe populations would have built up later in the year, but they're already starting early."

Miller said the disease carrying bloodsuckers have the potential to make human and pets sick, and anyone should see a doctor if they think they have been bit.

"It's probably not very likely you're going to pick up one of the diseases they can carry, but just the fact they would attach to you and try to suck the blood from us that's pretty gross to a lot of us," Miller said.

Tickles, a little puppy at KC Pet Project, was found at Lakeside Nature Center last week with 1,000 ticks on her.

The animal shelter says she was anemic, but they got all the ticks out. She is OK now but and needs a forever home.

Ticks aren't only out in the country. They like to be in taller grass and weeds, Miller said.

"Ticks can be anyplace from the countryside to smack down in the middle of the city to here in Olathe on our walking trail outside the office," Miller said. "Ticks are going to be anyplace they've got a little cover. They're always going to be looking for a food source, that could be you or I, dogs, cats really any mammals."

One of the most common tick in the area is the Lone Star tick. The female has a yellow or white spot on its back and was once thought to carry Lyme disease.

"It turns out that's not the case, only deer tick or black legged tick carry Lyme disease," Miller said.

But the Lone Star tick does carry STARI which is a disease transmitted through its bite causing a rash, and reportedly has been linked to an illness that can cause an allergy to red meat.

Click here to see a list of all the diseases ticks can carry and transmit.

"They're out in full force this year," Miller said. "Do a buddy check for ticks, if they've only been attached a few hours, they come out pretty easily and if they've only been attached a few out there, they probably won't give you any diseases."

Tick experts say the best way to keep the ticks off the body is to use sprays with DEET. Also, keeping the grass short will keep them out of the yard.

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