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54. Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases: Protecting Yourself in the Outdoors with Dr. Holly Gaff, Old Dominion University

“As part of the change in economy, we reforested the eastern part of the United States. We have a lot of forests now that are about 100 years old. As the trees came back, the deer came back. As the deer came back, the ticks came with them. And then the pathogens, of course, come along for the ride as well. I think about it from an ecology perspective, that what we did not bring back was those top predators. So we end up with this ecology of weedy species, like deer, that do replication really well, and raccoons and rodents and all these things that also make excellent tick food.” – Dr. Holly Gaff, Old Dominion University Tick Research Team


How afraid should you be of ticks and tick-borne diseases?


The distribution of ticks in Virginia is expanding and tick-borne diseases are on the rise. But what is the probability of contracting a tick-borne disease? How serious are these diseases to our health and what can we do to protect ourselves outdoors?


Dr. Holly Gaff, Professor and Chair of Biological Sciences at Old Dominion University, answers your questions about the complexities of these parasites and their implications on human health.


Dr. Gaff tackles myths and truths about tick behavior, the expansion of ticks, and the importance of environmental balance. Discover practical advice on how to keep these bloodsuckers at bay while respecting their place in our ecosystem. Let’s Go!


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ODU Tick Team