Tick season begins, some Lyme Disease treatments on short supply

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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisc. (WEAU) - With green grass returning, so are the ticks. The bites can lead to Lyme Disease, and in some areas, treatment drugs are scarce, doctors said.

Samuel Hughes, a mechanic at Spring Street Sports in Chippewa Falls said he likes to spend most of his days outside, but that can come with added dangers.

“I've got a dog so I like to take her running through the parks and even on days like today,” Hughes said. "Whether it's nice outside, or raining; if there's ticks or no ticks, it's what it is."

“We finally came off of our endless winter, now in spring and summer, when the grass and shrubberies are growing, that's when ticks become active. They're hungry. So if we're out in the wilderness, and grasslands in particular, we can get tick exposure,” Jean Durch, Chippewa County Public Health Officer Jean Durch said.

The State Department of Health Services is warning people about the dangers of ticks as part of Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

“They'll feel off, achy, lethargic, low grade fever. The thing to remember is ‘Did I have a tick bite and could that be related?’” Durch said.

Doxycycline, a drug to treat the disease, is on short supply in some areas, with higher prices too.

“One vendor quoted it was typically $4, now it's $68, so that's quite an increase,” Durch said.

There are some simple things you can do to avoid and spot ticks easier, without staying inside, Durch said.

“If you wear lighter clothing, use repellent, if you check when you come out, even more than once, check your children and dogs,” she said

“Tuck your pants into your socks and wear long sleeves,” Hughes said.

Public health departments said only two cases of Lyme disease have been reported in Chippewa and Eau Claire counties this year, but there were more than 200 last year.