The Delaware General Health District is advising people to be careful about ticks and mosquitoes this summer.
“We’re promoting mosquito and tick prevention and awareness, and swimming safety,” said district commissioner Shelia Hiddleson at last week’s Delaware City Council meeting.
Hiddleson said the district will soon have mosquito traps in every political jurisdiction in the county. She said the traps they currently use attract the mosquito species that carries the West Nile virus, while the new traps will attract the species that carries the Zika virus.
However, because of Ohio’s often cold weather, it is doubtful that there will be Zika-carrying mosquitoes in the state. Another kind of mosquito could bite someone who has the virus and spread it, though.
“The reason we do surveillance is there are many diseases that are spread by mosquitoes,” Hiddleson said. “Currently, we have followed nine residents who have traveled to endemic areas in Africa, and so far, we are fortunate to report that none of them have been diagnosed with Zika.”
In addition, the health district said there were 21 residents who were in Ebola-endemic areas but, after 21 days of isolation, none were reported to have Ebola.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends spraying and fogging for areas that report mosquitoes carrying a disease, Hiddleson said the best prevention is to avoid their presence by wearing long sleeves, using DEET-containing products, and to dump standing water.
May was Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and the district will be distributing cards to help identify ticks and assists with tick removal.
If you have a tick on you, Hiddleson is recommending that it be removed safely, put in a baggie with the date and time it was removed, and placed in your freezer.
“That way, if they do become symptomatic later on, they can tell their doctor, I did have a tick on me.” The tick can be examined and the date can determine whether it is Lyme disease.
Council member Lisa Keller said her daughter has Lyme disease, and her son recently had a tick after playing in tall grass. She urged parents to check their children for ticks after they come in from outside. Hiddleson said they will also spread the word to schools.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.