JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JUNE 29, 2017 – On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services began a systematic effort to trap and collect ticks at Meramec State Park. Following the collection process, the agencies began testing the ticks for any kind of tick-borne illness.
According to the Department of Health and Senior Services, the two most common diseases spread by tick bites in Missouri are Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis. The agencies are also testing for the Bourbon virus, a rare tick-borne illness that has been found only four times in the United States. The agencies have confirmed they are investigating one case of the Bourbon virus in Missouri.
Although Meramec State Park is an area of interest in the Bourbon virus investigation, health officials have advised that at this time there is no information to suggest the potential exposure risk at the park is any greater than anywhere else in Missouri. Accordingly, the park and all its facilities remain open to the public as the tick collection process continues. Missouri State Parks will continue to provide information to our visitors about how to protect themselves from tick bites, how to properly remove ticks and what to watch for if they do have a tick bite. These efforts include interpretive programs, information posted on bulletin boards and given to visitors.
You can protect yourself from ticks with some simple steps: use repellant, wear long sleeves, don’t walk in tall grass. For more tips on how to protect yourself from tick-borne illnesses, visit the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.