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How to remove a tick head from a dog

The threat of tick-borne diseases is serious and growing. And you’re probably not doing enough to protect your family.

Bad things come in small packages.

Photo byErikKarits/iStock

All parents have at least one issue that keeps them up at night worrying over their kids. For some, it’s gun violence. Others, cyberbullying. For me—especially in the spring and summer—it’s ticks.

Let’s start with some facts. Ticks in the U.S. can spread more than 14 diseases. They are “the most significant vectors of infectious diseases in the United States,” according to a write-up from a recent scientific conference. Research suggests that

where I live, in the lower Hudson Valley in New York, more than half of adult-stage blacklegged ticks harbor the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. (It’s also carried by one-fifth of nymphal-stage blacklegged ticks—the tiny ones that are hard to see and therefore often go unnoticed for days.) Another 1 in 5 adult blacklegged ticks in the region is infected with the bacterium that causes anaplasmosis; 1 in 30 harbors the potentially deadly deer tick virus; and another 1 in 30 can pass along the parasite that causes babesiosis. And yes: Ticks can and do often harbor multiple pathogens, so that’s fun too.

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