Ohio's tick population eyed as funding awaited

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Public health officials say it's difficult to know the exact size of Ohio's rising tick population after funding cuts to a monitoring program.

The Columbus Dispatch reports (bit.ly/1hHRQl7) the bugs and the diseases they carry, such as Lyme disease, become bigger concerns in warm weather.

Ohio's incidence of Lyme disease, spread by the black-legged tick, has reached a 20-year high. Recorded cases rose from 44 in 2008 to 93 last year.

At the same time, state lawmakers cut funding last year to a program that monitors ticks and other disease-spreading insects. A midterm budget bill passed by the Ohio House restores program funding. The measure still needs Ohio Senate and gubernatorial approval.

State entomologist Richard Gary said Ohio relies on education campaigns to limit cases of insect-bourne disease.