Health

Why you should be more proactive when it comes to ticks and mosquitoes

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) - Look out for ticks, they're pretty active right now.  

Among them, the deer tick.

Researcher Dr. Durland Fish at Yale School of Public Health pointed out, "This one can carry six different diseases." 

There's also the larger and faster dog tick.  

"It can carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which does occur here in Connecticut." said Dr. Fish. 

He is mostly concerned about the deer tick.

"Now, the deer tick also has picked up powassan virus and is becoming infected with powassan virus - and that tick bites people regularly. If you're finding deer ticks, the things with the orangish, the brown bodies and the black heads, you know that you're at risk for these deer tick-borne diseases," Dr. Fish added.   

The CDC reports the number of people getting insect-borne diseases from ticks, mosquitoes and fleas has more than tripled in recent years.

"They're talking about an increase over the last 15-plus years, so it's a slow increase,"  said Dr. Eugene Shapiro.

Related Content: Mosquito testing begins in Connecticut on Monday

He specializes in pediatric infectious disease at Yale School of Medicine and recommends checking your body thoroughly after spending time in fields and woods. 

"At least 90% of the people who'll get Lyme disease get the rash and maybe higher if you know where the tick bit you because you know where to look for it," Dr. Shapiro said.

Prevention is a frequent question from parents, according to Dr. Shapiro. "You can use insect repellents with DEET in them that can be effective, but you have to keep reapplying it periodically if you're going to do that," he said.

Keep the repellent handy as warmer temps usher in those pesky mosquitos.

Dr. Fish said, "The mosquitos transmit viruses which have no treatment." 

He worries most about detecting 'new' mosquito-borne infections.

"Well, because there's lots of mosquitoes around. People are commonly bitten by mosquitoes and these viruses get around the world as we've seen with Zika and Chikengunya," he said.

Dr. Fish pointed out that ticks are also spreading -- though they are not sure why.

An infected tick must be attached 36 to 48 hours to transmit the infection, so be sure to check your body thoroughly.

Also, if you're heading into likely tick-infested areas, wear light-colored clothing and tuck pants into socks.


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