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Ticks, Lyme disease moving into West Michigan

6:15 PM, Jun 5, 2013   |    comments
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HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- A disease carrying insect has moved north into West Michigan. This year's wet spring has helped an infestation of ticks move to new locations.

"We don't normally see ticks on our kids but we're seeing more on our kids and neighbor kids this year," says Brandi Mitchem who lives in Ottawa County.

It's a new trend in Michigan according to Ned Walker, Entomologist at MSU. He says Lyme disease-carrying ticks are moving into new regions.

"Within the last five or six years it swept all the way up the state and into Sleeping Bear Dunes, it's slowly moving east to Ottawa County and Kent County. It's now endemic for that tick and the disease," says Walker.

This year's wet spring means dense foliage, and plenty of places for the tick to hide.

"The stage of the tick that's important is the nymph stage. It's quite small and you may not notice the bite. People should have an increase concern for the tick and Lyme disease," says Walker.

That's Brandi's fear, so she's leaving no hair left unchecked. "I've met people with Lyme disease and seen the struggles they deal with, so I want to do what we can to make our kids healthy and safe in our own back yard."

Safe for summer fun, minus the critters. Experts say if you find a tick use fine-point tweezers, don't use heat.

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