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Why Are There So Many Ticks These Days?

Another animal might be partially to blame.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — You expect to see a few ticks here and there. But experts say there's been a surge in tick sightings this year. So what's happening? It turns out, another pest is indirectly to blame. 

Experts tell CBS rising temperatures and development are bringing rodents like mice and squirrels into contact with humans. And rodents are the primary source of food for ticks. So more rodents mean more ticks. 

And those ticks bring diseases. Last year there were 60,000 cases of tick-borne diseases. And those are just the ones reported. Experts estimate the real number of cases is probably over 300,000. 

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Some of them, like the Powassan virus, are not treatable. The Powassan virus also has a 50% chance of giving you permanent neurologic damage.

The best way to avoid these things? Make sure you use insect repellent and apply it to any exposed skin you have. Make sure it has 25 to 30 percent DEET. And avoid any tall grass. Ticks like to climb on the top of them and hitch a ride on passing people and animals. 

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