Lyme Disese in Utah?

Most common tick borne disease has mostly spared interior Western states-

Lyme disease hits Lehi. Wildlife officials will likely begin canvassing for ticks that carry disease. By Kirsten Stewart. The Salt Lake Tribune.

Unhappy news. I know several folks on this forum have contracted Lyme Disease during their outdoor adventures.





  1. JimT Avatar

    Bad news indeed, both for dogs and humans. And a direct result of warmer winters overall. It used to be that you only saw Lyme disease in Connecticut on the East Coast, and now it is routinely found in Vermont and New Hampshire. Part of that is due to the explosion in numbers of white tailed canid or feline predator presence.

    When you hike, keep your socks white and tucked over your pants, even if you look like a geek. And if you see ANY rashes or areas of soreness that have a bull’s eye target appearance…go to your doc immediately and start treatment.

    You can also pick it up if you go to warmer regions than your own, and then come home with it.

    They are tiny little ticks, really hard to see, not at all like normal “dog ticks”.

    If there is a tick repellent out there that is effective, I don’t know of one. So, if anyone does, please share.

  2. Jon Way Avatar

    Jim T,
    The eastern coyote/coywolf is an effective predator of w-t deer and cold esp. be so if state game agencies valued the ecological role that they played to promote their abundance to keep prey pops low. There is no doubt that this animal will be more effective at keeping deer numbers in check (if that is possible) than wolves or mt. lions, as these 2 animals will never be found in abundance in urbanized areas where deer are most abundant. I say that even if they actively come back to the area (on their own or thro reintroduction).

    1. JimT Avatar

      Jon, I lived in rural Vermont for 13 years, and I can tell you that the coyotes are not as effective at their role as predators as the deer are in reproducing.I see many more coyotes here in Colorado than I saw in Vermont and New Hampshire. Gardens were routinely raided throughout the area, and a friend of mine just wrote me she is thinking of tilling her perennials under; she never gets to see blooms. There are some rumored sightings of catamounts in the Northeast Kingdom, as it is called, and if folks leave them alone, if they can get re-established, that may help reduce the numbers. As for wolves returning on their own, they have to have some sort of bridge across the St.Lawrence, and it doesn’t reliably freeze completely anymore. I suspect if they return, it will the Maine area, Baxter most likely, and it would be ideal habitat. Very few towns, LOTS of rugged and remote areas.

    2. Jon Way Avatar

      deer can reproduce fast for sure, but there is some debate if wolves could even keep deer from increasing in some of the areas where deer are exploding, so I do agree with that.
      The problem, however, with unregulated killing of coyotes/coywolves, is that potentially effects the social dynamics of them. In other words, not hunting (or minimally doing so) would allow them to live in large social units, and possibly/probably hunt deer to a larger degree. Many have observed this already throughout the country and esp in the NE. All I am saying is that if we recognized this a little more I can almost guarantee you they would have a pretty good effect on deer and they do in some places (like Northern ME). But yes, deer and urban areas = fast/high reproduction b.c of great food sources with or without predators.

  3. jdubya Avatar

    I would take this with a big grain of salt. The low humidity of Utah makes the chance that the Lyme Disease tick is indeed endemic rather remote. The tick likes climates such as the northeast, upper midwest and pacific states. It may be in Utah but I would bet a sixpack of good beer it is not.

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    There is a map on the web that shows the incidence of Lyme disease.

    It is quite pervasive, but the real “hot spots” are fairly limited in size, and none are in the West except for one place on the Northern California coast.

    I agree the interior West doesn’t have the humidity or many whitetailed deer, or the right kind of mouse, to be part of the deer tick’s life cycle.

    But what if the organism is adapting?

  5. Jim Avatar

    I got Lyme in WI a few years back and it is not fun. One thing I can say is the amount of ticks does seem to be related to warmer winters. Every year there are more and more ticks. I rarely used to get ticks in Northern IL now I get them by just sitting in the yard.