Cotati, Ca - According to the Centers for Disease Control, tick-borne diseases are on the rise. From May through July, people will get more tick bites and tick-borne diseases than any other time of year in the United States. Officials from the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District are urging residents to take preventative measures against ticks, especially during the spring, summer, and early-fall when ticks are most active.
Adult western black-legged ticks (Ixodes pacificus) are commonly found fall through early spring, while the tiny nymphs are most active in the spring and early summer. Both stages of this tick can transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Ticks can be found in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, especially along sides of trails. Adult ticks wait on the tips of vegetation for people or other animal hosts to pass by, while nymphs are commonly found in leaf litter, on logs, and on mossy rocks.
"Tick nymphs are extremely tiny, the size of a poppy seed, therefore residents should take extra time to thoroughly check themselves for ticks," stated Nizza Sequeira, Public Relations Director for the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District. "Often times, people are unaware that they've been bitten by tick nymphs because they are hard to detect due to their tiny size," stated Sequeira. Tick nymphs also tend to have a higher infection rate of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease than adult ticks.
Personal protection measures to be taken prior to, during, and after being in tick habitat, include:
- Wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants.
- Clothing and equipment can be pre-treated with a permethrin product to kill ticks.
- Apply an EPA-registered repellent that is effective against ticks, such as DEET (at least 20% concentration) on exposed skin to repel ticks.
- Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks after you come indoors.
- Shower after being in tick habitat to detect ticks.
- Remove ticks promptly by using tweezers to grasp the head of the tick as close to the skin as possible, then pull straight out.
- Contact your physician if you have concerns or become ill after being bitten by a tick.
- To learn more about ticks and tick-bite prevention visit our website www.msmosquito.com.