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Ticks reemerge as warm weather arrives in Summit County

A tick drag involves pulling a white cloth over vegetation to collect samples.
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Tick season begins when the snow melts and lasts until the moisture has dried up.

Utah’s snowpack is almost 90% melted and now Summit County is warning residents about seasonal health risks as ticks return.

Summit County’s ticks haven’t yet caused as many problems as they did last year.

“We have had some ticks dropped off to be speciated," County Environmental Health Director Nate Brooks said. "But that's the most that we've seen as far as the season goes right now, but I'm sure it will continue to ramp up as it gets warmer each day.”

The most common species of tick locally is the Rocky Mountain wood tick, which does not carry Lyme disease.

The Rocky Mountain wood tick can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tick paralysis. And last year, wood ticks at the Swaner Preserve tested positive for Colorado tick fever and at least one Parkite contracted the viral disease.

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services’ annual tick surveillance report states there was only one other confirmed CTF case in Utah during 2023.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, tick bites have only accounted for 0.015% of emergency room visits in the American West so far this year.

But tick season will last until temperatures cool and moisture dries around the end of August, so Brooks reiterates the importance of regular tick checks.

“Make sure that you don't have any ticks on your skin as well as the clothes you were wearing—make sure that you wash those as soon as possible,” Brooks said. “And then double check your pets as well.”

He says insect-repellent DEET sprays for your clothes or a tick topical on your pets may help too.

Rocky Mountain wood ticks thrive in sagebrush and Gambel oak, among other types of plants.

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