Tick attack: Rodents, weather increase Va. tick diseases

DANVILLE, Va. (AP) - A health official says the tick population is increasing in Virginia, along with diseases borne by the insects.

Dr. Laura Gateley with the Virginia Department of Health tells the Danville Register & Bee that wet weather and a rise in the rodent population are factors in the tick population surge.

She says wet weather leads to more foliage and ticks like tall grass or tall weeds near forested areas. Woodpiles attract rodents that commonly host ticks.

Gateley says Virginia had 1,245 reported cases of tick-borne Lyme disease last year, up from 1,000 in 2008. In 2010, three deaths from other tick-borne illnesses were reported, two from Rocky Mountain spotted fever and one from ehrlichiosis.