OROVILLE — As spring approaches and outdoor activities increase, people need to protect themselves from ticks that may carry Lyme disease and other illnesses, according to the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Recent district surveillance on trails in Chico's Bidwell Park trails and Lake Oroville Recreation Area has identified increased populations of the Western black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus), sometimes referred to as the deer tick.

People may become infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease if they are bitten by an infected Western black-legged tick, according to a district news release.

The smaller, immature form of the tick known as a "nymph" is most active during the spring and early summer. About the size of a pinhead, nymphs are often found on logs, grasses, fallen branches or tree limbs, low-growing shrubs, and among damp leaves that accumulate under trees. Because nymphs are so small, people may not notice if one attaches to them.

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