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UPDATED: Ticks test positive for Colorado Tick Fever at Swaner

A tick drag involves pulling a white cloth over vegetation to collect samples.
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A tick drag involves pulling a white cloth over vegetation to collect samples.

The disease is the most common tick-borne disease in Utah, according to Utah State University.

State epidemiologists conducted tick drags at Swaner EcoPreserve and found ticks infected with Colorado Tick Fever.

The Summit County Health Department announced the ticks tested positive Tuesday afternoon.

Environmental Health Director Nate Brooks said the county health department is waiting for the state to confirm how many ticks were collected and how many tested positive for CTF.

“So we don't want to cause panic, but we obviously want to cause awareness,” Brooks said.

Hannah Rettler is an epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health and Human Services who specializes in diseases transmitted from animals to humans.

She said the test that found CTF in Summit County’s ticks is new and the state is working with the Centers for Disease Control to validate the results.

Nell Larson, Swaner's executive director, said her organization is grateful to have state authorities tracking tick-borne disease trends in Park City.

"The Park City community has been noticing an increasing prevalence of ticks over the past several years, and with these new results we definitely continue to encourage best practices for living with ticks," Larson said.

Utah State University says CTF is the most common tick-borne disease in Utah, and it’s carried by the state's most common tick, the Rocky Mountain Wood tick.

The CDC says it causes flu-like symptoms including fever, body aches and fatigue, typically for one to 14 days. The disease is seldom life-threatening, and the CDC says deaths are rare.

Rocky Mountain Wood ticks have also been known to carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which can be deadly if it is not treated with appropriate antibiotics.

The Rocky Mountain Wood tick does not carry Lyme disease. The only tick in Utah that can transmit Lyme disease is the Western Blacklegged tick, which lives in the Sheeprock Mountains of Juab County.

Peak tick season in Utah lasts from the snowmelt through at least July.

The county health department recommends always performing tick checks after being outdoors. And to pay particular attention to children and pets, who can’t check for ticks themselves.

Click here for more information and how to stay tick-free this summer.

Updated: July 14, 2023 at 11:45 AM MDT
State epidemiologists' tick tests were confirmed Friday. They tested 19 ticks total, split into six sample groups. Five groups had at least one test positive for CTF. All the samples were taken from Swaner EcoPreserve.
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