What to know about ticks when it comes to your pets

ciLiving

Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

Dr. Rebecca Smith, veterinarian and epidemiologist with the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, shares details on what diseases ticks carry when it comes to pets and people and has an update on results from last year’s I-TICK study of ticks they found in Illinois.

Here’s more information from the U of I:

Researchers involved in an Illinois tick research and surveillance program are, once again, seeking the ticks people find on their bodies. And they’re hoping to be sent even more ticks than they got last year.

Last year, the Illinois Tick Inventory Collaboration Network, called I-TICK for short, received more than 900 ticks that people from 28 counties pulled from themselves or their animals, according to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

What is I-TICK?
I-TICK, (Illinois Tick Inventory Collaboration networK), is a passive surveillance program to gather information about ticks of public health concern in Illinois. The purpose is to develop a network of volunteers whose work or leisure take them outdoors, and are likely to encounter ticks, to take part in data and tick collection. Volunteers submit ticks and location data to the UIUC for mapping and analysis.

Who can participate?
Anyone whose work or hobbies take them outdoors anywhere in Illinois.

When does it occur?
Any 5 days between April 1 and December 31. It is best, but not necessary, if the 5 collection days are within a 2-week period, but the 5 days do not need to be consecutive. People are welcome to participate for more than one 5-day period.

Where does it occur?
Anywhere outdoors in Illinois where a person works, travels, or relaxes: hiking in natural areas, recreation in a city park, working, walking their dog, etc.

Why would I want to take part and why is it important?
Ticks can carry a number of diseases that affect people and other animals in Illinois. The data and ticks collected help identify where and when a tick species comes in contact with people, pets, and livestock. These data then allow us to focus surveillance methods to determine the risk of disease.

How do I participate?
Anyone is welcome to participate, either as an individual, or as an I-TICK Hub. (Hubs collect completed kits and forward them to the UIUC). If interested, please contact Peg Gronemeyer at mag6@illinois.edu.

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