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Record tick season underway in New York: How bad will it get in 2024?

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The 2024 tick season in New York and the Northeast has started off with unprecedented activity, as evidenced by the highest number of tick bite-related emergency room visits for March in recent years. This surge is attributed to milder winters and growing deer populations, factors that promote tick proliferation and extend their active periods.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

Last month, emergency rooms in the Northeast recorded 69 visits for tick bites per 100,000 visits, a significant increase from the seven-year March average of about 43 per 100,000. The early spike in tick activity places 2024 on track to surpass the peak year of 2017, which saw the highest suffering due to tickborne illnesses like Lyme disease in recent memory.

With nearly 16,800 Lyme disease cases reported in New York in 2022, double the figures of recent years, public health officials are bracing for a potentially severe season. The new national standards for tracking such cases, implemented last year, aim to provide a more accurate picture of the impact of tickborne illnesses. Experts remain cautious, noting that early Lyme disease is often treated without laboratory tests, suggesting actual numbers could be much higher.