Health Department Encourages Tick & Mosquito Bite Prevention
July 12, 2021
By Jessica Mathews / email@example.com
The Livingston County Health Department is encouraging people to take steps to prevent tick and mosquito bites when enjoying the outdoors this summer.
Ticks emerge when the weather starts to get warmer in the spring and are present all summer through early fall. Deputy Health Officer and Director of Environmental Health Matt Bolang says there are two primary types of ticks – dog ticks which are more commonly seen and then deer ticks, which are called black-legged ticks and are the ones that could carry Lyme Disease. He says they worry more about the health impacts from the latter type, which are present in Livingston County.
If someone did have a tick attached to them, Bolang says a first step is to get it identified and bring it to the Health Department or submit a picture for identification. If it ends up being a dog tick, he says it’s not that big of a deal. For deer ticks, Bolang says if someone finds them shortly after they attach or within 24-hours or so then there’s not much chance they have the ability to transmit the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease.
Bolang noted no local cases have been identified this year but there have been some very small cases in the past. Ultimately, he says ticks are here and people should check themselves over when showering after spending time outdoors or in the woods, including children and pets as they come in. Other prevention measures include wearing long pants and long sleeves and insect repellent containing DEET and that same advice holds true for mosquito avoidance.
With all of the recent rain, Bolang says the mosquito populations are likely going to start exploding within the next couple of weeks so people should take precautions if outside and wear insect repellent if possible. He tells WHMI the Health Department conducts surveillance for different reasons and sorts of diseases that mosquitos can carry.
Bolang says EEE or Eastern Equine Encephalitis has always been around but recently there have been a few human cases in the state, which can be pretty deadly if contracted. He says they’re doing additional surveillance through September or so looking for the mosquitos that carry the EEE virus along with some other sorts of mosquitoes that can carry the Zika Virus and the West Nile Virus, the latter of which is present locally. Bolang says the department finds areas where the habitat is right for the different types of mosquitos to live and set two different types of traps. The mosquitos are then collected and brought back to identify and the kind that could carry EEE are submitted to the state for testing.
More information about ticks can be found through the provided link and attachment. More information about mosquitos is available on the State of Michigan’s emerging diseases webpage at www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.