By Mike Kruzman /

The local health department is again participating in a program that helps scout for dangerous, disease carrying bugs.

The Livingston County Health Department is continuing their participation for a second year in the state’s Vector-Borne Disease Surveillance and Prevention Program. According to LCHD Health OffIcer and Director of Environmental Services, Matt Bolang, the main thing they are looking for is the black legged, or deer tick, that carries Lyme Disease. The program also is testing mosquitoes, looking for West Nile virus- which has been found in Livingston County, and for mosquitoes that may be carrying the Zika virus. Later in the year efforts will turn to identifying Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

Bolang said this year, in particular, more people are enjoying the outdoors because of the governor’s executive order, and they should be careful. He and the rest of the Livingston County Health Department remind that prevention is the best way to protect yourself and your family. Tick bites can be prevented by avoiding tick-infested areas and clearing high grass, brush, and leaf litter. Everyone over 2 years old should use insect repellents with DEET. Wearing light colored clothing can help to more easily spot ticks. And perform daily tick checks, looking under arms, in and around ears, behind the knees, and especially in the hair. Pets should also be checked, as they can easily bring the ticks in from outdoors. To stop mosquito bites, wear long sleeves and use insect repellents. Empty standing water around the house, and install or repair screens on doors and windows to keep the bugs outside.

Anybody who finds a tick and wants it identified is encouraged to take pictures of the tick, and send it to Somebody from the department will identify the tick and send information and additional instructions, if needed, back.