May 4, 2017
Lasee's Notes is a way for me to
communicate directly with you on key issues of our day
and to champion limited government, lower taxes, and individual liberty.
How we respond to these issues today, will affect the direction of our state
and nation tomorrow.
I look forward to hearing from you about the issues of concern to you. Please feel free to contact me,
Sen.Lasee@legis.wisconsin.gov or (608) 266-3512. If you are planning to be
in Madison, please visit, I look forward to seeing you at the Capitol.
Lurks in Wisconsin-Be Careful
Spring in Wisconsin means many different things: warmer weather, open
water fishing, an influx of Illinois drivers, and yes, pants in socks.
Out-of-towners may just think we’re fashion forward, but we know that
along with spring comes ticks, and with ticks, Lyme disease. Wisconsin
is a hotbed for Lyme disease and it’s only going to get worse without
increased awareness and proactive steps to prevent this devastating
disease from affecting our skin, joints, nervous system, and heart.
This is still not okay (fashion joke for my daughters).
Lyme disease was first found in the United States in 1975 in the now
infamous town of Lyme, Connecticut. It’s a bacterial disease and is
spread through deer ticks. Many people panic when they find one crawling
on them; however, a tick must attach to a person’s skin for about 24
hours before they’re able to transmit the disease. People and pets can
pick up a tick by simply being outside. However, being in a wooded area
increases the chances of picking up the unwanted and dangerous traveler.
Wisconsin has become a magnet for migrant, Lyme carrying, Vermont ticks
because we have what can be most aptly described as the perfect storm of
circumstances. Our Wisconsin climate has been warmer and wetter in
recent years and the increase in humidly and temperature has created a
favorable environment for ticks to thrive. Also, ticks feed off of deer
and mice and we all know there’s plenty enough to go around.
You might be thinking, “Frank, you’re not painting a pretty picture.”
Well, despite the beautiful spring we’re having, it’s not all sunshine
and rainbows. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, in 2014, there were 25,000 Lyme disease cases and 96% of
them were reported from only 14 states. Wisconsin claimed nearly 3,000
of them. From 1990 to 2015, almost 40,000 cases of Lyme disease have
been reported in Wisconsin.
In 2014, a UW professor of entomology searched the UW Arboretum for
immature infected deer ticks and found 32. In 2016, the professor
searched the same exact area and found 592 immature infected deer ticks.
As the statistics bear out, it’s a growing problem.
This picture should
"tick" you off.
According to the
Wisconsin Department of Health Services Division of Public Health,
some of the precautions that you can take to reduce your risk of
acquiring Lyme disease are:
Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and high socks with pant cuffs
tucked into the socks. Light colored clothing will make ticks easier
to find. Walk in the center of mowed trails to avoid brushing up against
Insect repellents containing 20-30% DEET may be applied to skin and
clothing to provide protection for several hours.
After you have been outside, place dry items in the dryer on
high heat for six minutes, or one hour for wet items, to kill any ticks
Conduct thorough "tick checks" on yourself and others, including
pets, after spending time outdoors. Prompt removal of ticks, even after
they have attached, can drastically reduce the chance of Lyme disease
Remove attached ticks with tweezers. Pull the tick up
by its head and out
from your body, then disinfect the site and wash your hands. If a tick is
attached for more than 24 hours, consult a doctor.
Lyme disease often first presents itself as a rough circular reddish
rash around or near the site of the tick bite. As the rash expands,
other symptoms can start to develop such as: fever, headache, fatigue,
stiff neck, muscle discomfort, and joint pain.
Prompt and early detection of Lyme
disease is incredibly important and can be treated with oral
antibiotics, injectable antibiotics, and/or antimicrobials. The longer
the disease is allowed to remain in a person’s body, the more
devastating the effects.
During testimony on a bill during the 2015-2016 legislative session, a
woman testified that her untreated Lyme disease caused an infection in
her brain making it hard for her to walk.
The importance of tick avoidance and personal protection, tick detection
and removal, the signs and symptoms of tick-borne illnesses, and the
need for prompt diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease can’t be overstated for everyone living in Wisconsin. That’s why I chose to focus my
weekly Notes on bringing awareness of Lyme disease to you. I also
May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month – spread the word, be cognizant of
those dirty little buggers, and go enjoy a beautiful Wisconsin spring!