Schumer warns NYC of tick-borne illnesses - Dallas News |

Warning of tick-borne illnesses in NYC

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There is a growing threat to the health of people in parts of the metropolitan area, tick-borne illnesses.

The threat is so severe that U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is calling on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address the threat.

Schumer is even warning people to check for ticks – after visiting city parks.

When you think of ticks you may think you only have to worry about them out in the country but it turns out deer ticks have also been found in various parts of New York City

"The number of cases of Lyme disease in New York City and Long Island has gone up five times over last several years," said Schumer.

Ticks carry Lyme disease but they also carry more dangerous illnesses like one called Powassan virus and  Schumer says New Yorkers need to be aware of it.

"The Powassun virus is more serious than Lyme because 1/3 of those who get it succumb, its fatal," Schumer said.

There has been one case of Powassan in New York State this summer in Saratoga County. The virus is not easy to detect and there's no treatment for it says epidemiologist Dr. Daniel Cameron, who runs the Lyme Project.

"Viruses don't typically have any antibiotic treatment, but you can become quite sick, because there have been a few deaths related to the virus," said Dr. Cameron. "You can't be sitting around waiting 36 hours to see if you're safe, you need to take any tick bite seriously."

Dr. Cameron says that can mean getting to a doctor or even an emergency room right away.

The CDC says because Powassan has no treatment, the best means of preventions is protection from tick bites altogether -- that includes using insect repellents, not walking through tall grass, wearing light colored long sleeves and pants and checking your pets for ticks.

Senator Schumer is calling for the CDC to study tick-borne illnesses such as the Powassan virus and how they are spread.

For more information on tick-borne illnesses and how to deal with ticks, visit the CDC website.

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