November 22, 2019
Meghan May, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and infectious disease at the UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine, was recently interviewed by NEWS CENTER Maine about the impact ticks can have during hunting season.
Maine's biggest hunting seasons are winding down in the next several weeks, but ticks carrying bacteria that cause Lyme disease can be active anytime temperatures climb above freezing.
Deer are one of the preferred hosts for deer ticks.
Experts recommend that hunters take steps against the risk of bringing Lyme into their own back yards. When field dressing a deer, a large tarp or small swimming pool filled with water can be placed under the hanging animal. When live ticks drop off the deer, ticks are trapped in the water.
“If you have any kind of open wound, you should not be field dressing an animal or butchering an animal,” May told NEWS CENTER Maine.
May says hunters need to be careful when handling the raw meat of any wild animal. But she says there are no documented cases of Lyme being spread from dressing or consuming deer meat.
“Can you contract Lyme disease specifically from eating venison? No, you can't,” May stated. “It is susceptible to heat destruction if you cook it.”
Researchers say adult deer ticks can be very active in the late fall, especially in cool wet conditions.