A cooperative effort to trap and collects ticks in Meramec State Park is under way by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). The park and all its facilities remain open under normal on-season operations during the collection process.
The collected ticks are being tested for any kind of tick-borne illness. According to the DHSS, 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.
Although Meramec State Park is an area of interest in the Bourbon virus testing, 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.
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 website.