Acorns could be the cause of more cases of lyme disease in 2017

TAMPA, Fla. - Squirrels love them and so do mice and because of a booming crop, there are plenty acorns to go around. But that bountiful supply has ecologists concerned about lyme disease. Deby Cassill, a Biology associate professor at USF, says ticks are tricky.

"They tend to crawl up, they wait for somebody like a mouse or a bird or human to come by and they drop on them," she said.

More mice and rodents equals more ticks which means there is a possibility of more lyme disease cases.

"I had 72 of the 75 symptoms that made up the list of late stage Lyme," said Skyler Pursifull, who has struggled with Lyme disease since she was 3-years-old. As she grew, she began experiencing problems with her memory. 

"I was sleeping 17 hours a day and the amount of time that I was awake during the day was a struggle," said Pursifull.

Pursifull is now getting treatment and feeling better but says people need to know the signs and symptoms and how to protect themselves.

A good way to avoid a tick bite – make sure you wear long sleeved shirts and pants when you go outside even when it's hot. Purchase bug spray that repel ticks and check your entire body after a walk outside to make sure you didn't get bitten by a tick.

Cassill says we're also seeing less fire ants and even though they are pesky, they also feed on ticks.

"we've got this predator that's in lower numbers and the pray that are in higher numbers," said Cassill. "It's going to be an explosion."

To understand the signs and symptoms of the disease, click here.

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