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Scientists predict especially bad summer for ticks, Lyme disease

Lyme disease-carrying tick expanding in Texas, experts say

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(Getty Images)

HOUSTON – Scientists said they are predicting an especially bad summer for ticks and Lyme disease.

Researchers for the last 25 years have tracked mice that spread ticks.

"We saw an absolute plague of white-footed mice last summer," Richard Ostfeld, the senior scientist at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, said. "What you see the year after a big mouse boom is a very large population of infected ticks that are capable of making us sick."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease each year. And while the number of cases in Texas is low, officials said the tick that carries the disease is well-established here and its range appears to be expanding.

Officials said most of the dozens of cases Texas sees each year occurs mostly within the Golden Triange region, between Houston, Dallas and Austin.

Experts said symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and skin rash. They added that if left undiagnosed and untreated, the disease can spread to the heart, joints and nervous system.

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