Thursday, August 12, 2010

Watch out for diseases related to ticks and mosquitoes

Summer is the prime time for mosquitoes and ticks – as well as the diseases they carry. Ticks can cause Anaplasma, Babesia, Ehrlichia, Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Powassan. Mosquitoes can carry Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus (WNV).

Tickborne diseases have already been reported in Maine this summer – and all Mainers should follow these recommendations to prevent illness:
Wear protective clothing
Use insect repellent
Use caution in tick infested areas
Perform daily tick checks

Although EEE and WNV have not been found in Maine yet this summer, there was unprecedented EEE activity in Maine in 2009. Several surrounding states have already seen EEE and WNV activity, including increased risk of EEE in southeastern Massachusetts (more information can be found at http://westnile.ashtonweb.com/).

Information this year suggests that even though there may be fewer mosquitoes, a higher percentage of those mosquitoes may be carrying disease. Some ways to minimize the risk of EEE and WNV include:
Wear long sleeves and long pants
Use insect repellent on skin and clothes
Take extra precautions at dusk and dawn
Drain sources of artificial standing water where you live, work and play
Install or repair screens on windows and doors

Physicians should keep these diseases in mind, particularly during the summer months. Early recognition and treatment may help prevent complications. All cases of tickborne (including erythema migrans) and mosquito-borne diseases should be reported to Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821.

For more information: http://www.maine.gov/DHHS/boh/ddc/epi/vector-borne/

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