Mild winter, wet spring means tick population up in Oklahoma

TULSA, Okla. – A mild winter and wet spring in Oklahoma this year means a higher population of ticks and the sometimes deadly illnesses they can carry.

The Tulsa World reports that the Oklahoma State Department of Health has issued a warning alerting Oklahomans to the high number of ticks and risk of disease.

Oklahoma ranks among the states with the highest rates of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and tularemia, and May through August are the months when ticks are most active.

Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness is another sickness similar to Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease, which are characterized by rash and flu-like symptoms.

Rachel Clinton, epidemiologist with the department, says doctors can test for both Lyme disease and Powassan viruses but the risk of exposure is minimal.