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      Wet spring welcomes an uptick in ticks, Lyme disease

      S ome doctors are worried that the number of Lyme disease cases will go up this year.

      S ome doctors are worried that the number of Lyme disease cases will go up this year.

      Environmentalists say the extremely snowy winter created the perfect conditions for ticks to thrive this spring and summer.

      "T hey like wet grassy areas and muddy , dense leaf litter ," Brittany Mauricette, Otsego County Conservation District Forester.

      A n increased number of Black-legged ticks survived the harsh winter by hiding in the snow.

      A nd now that it has warmed up , they have latched onto deer and other animals.

      "T he ticks that carry the disease are only found in certain parts of the state," Dr. Joshua Meyerson, Health Department of Northwest Michigan Medical Director said.

      T he Black-legged ticks with Lyme disease are typically found in counties along the state's western shoreline.

      "If somebody got bit by a tick in Emmet County, I would say that they're at very low risk for Lyme disease," Dr. Meyerson said. "If they got bit by a tick a black tick in Grand Traverse County, especially around Sleeping Bear sand dunes they would be at a higher risk."

      I f you get bit , there are certain symptoms that go along with the disease.

      "A bout 80% of people who get Lyme disease will get a very distinctive rash, that usually occurs around the side of the tick bite but it can occur at different places as well," Dr. Meyerson said.

      Y ou may also experience a fever, chills, and muscle aches , but the disease is easily treatable with antibiotics.

      B ut if you want to play it safe , your best bet is to cover up when exploring the woods.

      "M ake sure that when you do go out into the woods you take precautions , t uck in your clothes , wear long sleeve s try to protect your body is much as you can ," Mauricette said.