Prevent Bite Of Disease-Carrying Insects

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Disease-Carrying Insects

Frederick Health Department reminds you, as summer approaches and you are spending more time outdoors, that mosquitoes and ticks carry diseases.

"The incidence of West Nile Virus (WNV) and Lyme Disease (LD) increase during the summer months as people spend more time outdoors. You can prevent exposure to disease-carrying mosquitoes and tics by taking some simple precautions," states Health Officer, Dr. Barbara Brookmyer.


LD is caused by a bacterium that is spread by the bite of a deer tick. You cannot catch LD from another person. The tick must be attached to the body for at least 24 hours in order for the LD bacterium to be passed on to a person. Not every tick bite causes Lyme disease, but a person can get LD more than once.

About 70-80% of those infected with LD will develop a rash where they are bitten. The rash starts as a small red round area, which usually expands to two or more inches across. The center of the rash may be clear giving the rash a "bull's eye" appearance. Other symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, stiff neck, joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes. Without treatment, the heart, nervous system, or joints may be affected weeks to years later; the rash may also spread to other parts of the body.

Blood tests done in the early stage of LD illness can be negative, so early diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and exposure risks. Symptoms can appear between 3 to 32 days after a tick bite. Most cases of LD can be cured with antibiotics, especially if treatment is begun early in the course of illness. A vaccine to prevent LD was previously available but is no longer produced.

You can prevent LD by taking the following precautions: