National Geographic: Disease-Spreading Ticks on the Move as Climate Changes

Graham Hickling, NIMBioS Associate Director for Partner Relations and Director of UT’s Center for Wildlife Health, was interviewed by the Knoxville News Sentinel and National Geographic about his research related to ticks. His advice: If a tick bites you, save it in a vial of alcohol or in your freezer. It might be carrying an organism that can make you sick later — and, depending on where you are, not necessarily with the disease you’re thinking of.  He says, ticks are on the move but Lyme disease-carrying ticks are not common in the Southeast. “Here in Tennessee we regularly collect lone star ticks that test positive for Ehrlichia, [a tick-borne bacterial infection]. Lone stars are an aggressive species that account for most of the human bites that we see in this region. So ehrlichiosis has to be a big concern, yet most people have never heard of it.”

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