News Details

Residents should to take precautions to protect themselves against ticks and mosquitos this summer

(Woodbury, NJ) – The Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders would like to remind residents to take steps to protect themselves and their families while spending time outdoors this summer. Tick and mosquito bites can cause serious illnesses, and personal prevention measures and surveillance and control are key in preventing and controlling vector-borne diseases.

The most common tick-borne disease is Lyme disease, which is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected deer ticks.

Symptoms of Lyme disease can include a "bull's-eye" rash, fever, fatigue, headache, and muscle and joint aches. Chronic joint, heart, and neurological problems may occur. It usually takes 24-36 hours of attachment before a tick transmits a disease. Anyone bitten by a tick should monitor their health closely, and contact a physician if symptoms develop.

Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger said, "While the attention in the last year has been on the Zika Virus, which is carried by mosquitos, mosquitoes can also carry West Nile Virus,Eastern equine encephalitis and several other diseases which they can transmit through their bite if they are infected."

In the United States, most people are infected from June through September, and the number of these infections usually peaks in mid-August. 

Freeholder Jim Jefferson, Liaison to the Department of Health said that awareness is the strongest weapon regarding any tick borne or mosquito borne activity. 

“Our goal is to provide residents with the actions needed to protect themselves and their families so they can have fun and enjoy the outdoors,” Jefferson said.

Jefferson said that the Gloucester County Department of Health offers the following tips:

Tick Prevention

·        Avoid walking in wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter, as this is where ticks are most commonly found.

·        Walk in the center of hiking trails, not on the side. Wear light-colored clothing to allow you to see ticks easily.

·        Wear long sleeves and long pants, and tuck pant legs into socks. Apply tick repellents. Repellents containing permethrin can be sprayed on boots and clothing and will last for several days. Repellents containing DEET can be applied to the skin but will last only a few hours before reapplication is necessary. Use insect repellent containing less than 50 percent DEET for adults. Use repellent containing less than 30 percent DEET for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that repellents with DEET should not be used on infants less than two months old.

·        After being outdoors, check for ticks on yourself and your children (especially the head area), and pets, which should be treated with tick and flea preventive products. Ticks can ride home on pets, then attach to a person later.

Tick Removal

  • Avoid removing ticks with bare hands to prevent the tick's fluids from getting on your skin. Use fine-tipped tweezers, shielding fingers with a tissue, paper towel, or rubber gloves.
  • Grasp the tick close to the skin surface and pull upward steadily and evenly.
  • Place the removed tick onto a piece of scotch tape or into a plastic bag and seal it tightly, then discard it in the regular trash. Cleanse the site of the tick bite with an antiseptic or soap and water, and wash your hands.
Mosquito Protection

  • When outside, wear shoes, long-sleeved shirts, and pants.
  • Use mosquito netting to protect infants and young children in carriages, strollers, and playpens. Netting can protect one's face and neck during long hikes. Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and during the early morning hours. However, mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are also active daytime biters.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents:
    • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for reapplication times.
    • Use insect repellent containing less than 50 percent DEET for adults.
    • Use repellent containing less than 30 percent DEET for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends using insect repellents containing 10 percent DEET.
    • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child's hands, eyes, mouth, or on cut or irritated skin. Adults: spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to the child's face.
    • AAP also recommends that repellents with DEET should not be used on infants less than two months old.
  • Prevent mosquitoes from entering the house by using screens and keeping windows and doorways tightly sealed. Mosquitoes prefer shallow water and tall vegetation.
Get rid of mosquito breeding sites around the home by:

·        Cleaning out gutters and drains

·        Disposing of old tires

·        Draining standing water from pool covers and ditches

·        Removing all containers that hold water

·        Maintaining pools, spas and saunas properly

·        Changing birdbath water every several days

·        Making sure all windows and doors have screens and that all screens are in good condition

There are no medications or vaccines to treat or prevent West Nile virus infection.  People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks.  In more severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalized to receive supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids, pain medication, and nursing care.  Anyone who has symptoms that cause concern should contact their health care provider.

Remember, the best way to prevent Mosquito or Tick borne disease is to avoid being bitten.

For more information residents can visit the Department of Health's website at

http://www.co.gloucester.nj.us/depts/h/hedss/envhealth/default.asp

or call 856-218-4170.

Additional information on Tick-borne viruses can also be found at:

·        Lyme Disease: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/

·        Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: https://www.cdc.gov/rmsf/

·        Anaplasmosis: https://www.cdc.gov/anaplasmosis/

·        Babesiosis: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/babesiosis/

·        Powassan Virus: https://www.cdc.gov/powassan/

###