The Onondaga County Health Department is encouraging residents to protect themselves this summer from tick and mosquito bites. Indu Gupta MD, MPH, Onondaga County Commissioner of Health explained that ticks can carry a bacterium that causes Lyme disease. “A person can get infected through the bite of an infected deer tick”. Dr. Gupta explained that an infected tick must be attached to the skin for 36 hours to transmit the bacterium. With the warm weather almost here, it is important to consistently use personal protection measures to reduce the risk of bites from both ticks and mosquitoes. “Mosquitoes can also carry the viruses that spread diseases like West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEV)”. Dr. Gupta explained that the Health Department will begin the annual mosquito surveillance and control program in late May. This program collects and tests mosquitoes for viruses including WNV and EEEV. The program also uses larvicides (an insecticide) to control mosquito breeding in standing bodies of water.
The Health Department has outlined several measures to protect against ticks bites and other diseases caused by infected ticks. In addition, residents are encouraged to use personal protection measures during outdoor activities to protect against both ticks and mosquito bites. This includes wearing shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt in addition to using a repellant. When using a repellant, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on proper use and reapplication.
For more information about Lyme disease and mosquito-borne illnesses, contact the Onondaga County Health Department, Division of Environmental Health at 315-435-1649. For more information visit: