The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health (DPH) recommends taking precautions to protect against tick and mosquito bites as summer weather approaches.
Tick- and mosquito-borne infections are common in North Carolina, with more than 750 cases of tick-borne diseases reported in 2014 alone. Additionally, more than 100 cases of domestically acquired and travel-associated mosquito-borne diseases were reported in 2014.
“Ticks and mosquitoes are very common in our state, and they carry bacteria and viruses that can cause serious infections,” said Carl Williams, State Public Health Veterinarian. “The good news is that many of these infections can be prevented by following some basic control measures.”
In proclaiming April as Tick and Mosquito Awareness Month in North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory noted that ticks and mosquitoes are a natural part of our environment and cannot be eradicated, so protective measures are the best way to avoid illnesses associated with them.
As warmer weather approaches, tick-borne diseases increase, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme disease and Ehrlichiosis increase, with the majority of diagnoses occurring from June through September.
To reduce exposure to ticks:
Avoid tick habitats, such as wooded, grassy or brushy areas.
Use tick repellent that contains DEET (or equivalent) on exposed skin and wear permethrin-treated clothing. Use caution when applying to children.
Reduce tick habitat on your property with selective landscaping techniques.
If there is a tick attached to your body, carefully remove the tick by grasping it with fine-tipped tweezers as close as possible to your skin, then apply a steady, gentle pull until it releases.
Mosquito-borne diseases usually cause either no symptoms or mild, flu-like illness. However, they can cause more serious conditions, including encephalitis, meningitis and meningoencephalitis, and can be fatal. To reduce exposure to mosquitoes:
Use mosquito repellent that contains DEET (or equivalent) when exposed to mosquitoes. Use caution when applying to children.
Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside and if possible, use air conditioning.
Reduce mosquito breeding by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths at least once a week.