They are very adorable as they calmly graze in your lawn. However, a new study reveals that the overpopulation of white-tailed deer in the Northeastern United States may contribute to the spread of anaplasmosis and another sickness brought on by ticks, Lyme disease.
According to the research, these deer, which harbour ticks that spread the two diseases, are no longer restricted to wooded regions and frequently inhabit suburban yards, raising the risk of transmission.
The primary researcher, Jennifer Mullinax, stated that “your yard is their home,” and if you’re worried about ticks, tick management, or potential damage, you need to understand that this is where they truly choose to dwell and either work with them or manage against them. She teaches wildlife ecology and management as an assistant professor at the University of Maryland.
The deer themselves pose no risk to public safety. However, Mullinax noted that the black-legged (deer ticks) and lone star ticks they carry spread Lyme and other infections.
A tick bite from an infected animal can result in the bacterial infection known as Lyme disease. It results with symptoms like a rash, fever, headache, and exhaustion. It can spread to the heart, joints, and neurological system if untreated. Similar signs and symptoms of anaplasmosis might result in bleeding and renal failure.
These diseases’ ticks congregate and reproduce on your grass.
Deer are living closer to people as development encroaches on natural habitats, and landscapes provide easy access to graze on grasses, shrubs, and flowers, according to Mullinax. According to her, your lawn is “warm, safe, there are fewer predators, and it’s just convenient.”
Managed deer hunting can aid in reducing the tick population, although the study noted that it can be challenging to eliminate the herd. People don’t want hunters in suburbs, and trying to chemically lower deer reproduction hasn’t been successful, it was stated.
Mullinax claimed that while deer fencing and mulch barriers can be used to restrict access to your yard, reducing the tick population may be a more effective method of illness prevention.
“Ticks in people’s yards are the main source of Lyme disease. There are numerous techniques for eliminating ticks, “She spoke. “It truly is pointing the county governments and state agencies to make some adjustments in managing the deer population.”
The study’s findings were examined by Dr. Marc Siegel, a clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.
He suggested the following methods to lessen the number of ticks in your yard: Your lawn should be short. Have the ticks in your yard sprayed. Use a tick repellent. Additionally, after spending time outside, check your body and clothing for ticks.
I advise them to check for lumps on their scalp and in their pelvic region, said Siegel. “I advise them that if they feel exhausted, it might not be COVID but rather Lyme.”
Due to the difficulty in diagnosing Lyme disease, Siegel said he is not hesitant to recommend antibiotics if he has a strong suspicion of the condition based only on symptoms.
I fall into the over-treaters camp, he admitted. “However, while this study essentially asserts that these things are spiralling out of control, it does not make me look terrible. We anticipate a big increase in sickness.”
On September 17, the study in the journal Urban Ecosystems was published online.
The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has further information on Lyme disease.
SOURCES: Marc Siegel, MD, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City; Urban Ecosystems, online, September 17, 2022; Jennifer Mullinax, PhD, assistant professor of wildlife ecology and management, University of Maryland, College Park.