Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
Blog: Take precautions against ticks
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By RaeAnn Tucker-Marshall
Oct. 15, 2012 12:01 a.m.

The Environmental Health Division of the Henry and Stark County Health
Departments is warning residents to take precautions against ticks and the
diseases they carry.
"Ticks can transmit a number of diseases through bite," warns Dorothy
David, Environmental Health Director with the Health Department. "As people
are spending more time outdoors during the summer and fall, it is
unreasonable to assume that one can completely eliminate tick exposure.
Therefore, prevention methods should include personal protection and
frequent full body tick checks."
Ticks live in and near wooded areas, tall grass and brush and, if
infected, can spread various diseases, including ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease,
Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. The ticks, often no bigger than
a pin head, become active and can spread disease any time of the year when
the temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or more at ground level. Ticks,
which have sticky pads on their feet, wait in ankle-high grass and other low
vegetation for a human, a dog or another animal to pass by.
The following activities and circumstances were cited by patients who
have acquired tickborne diseases in areas with vegetation, tall grass or
pastures that serve as tick habitats, most notably when no tick precautions
were taken: camping, hiking/walking dogs, having a residence in a wooded
area or performing yard work/clearing brush/gardening in wooded settings,
playing paintball, mushroom hunting, riding all-terrain vehicles in
vegetation that could harbor ticks, fishing and hunting. Landscapers and
farmers could also be at increased risk.
Several prevention measures can be applied against tickborne diseases.
Performing frequent tick checks and removing ticks promptly reduces the
likelihood of transmission of tickborne diseases. While Lyme disease
transmission from an infected feeding tick requires a day or more, Rocky
Mountain Spotted Fever can be transmitted in as little as 4 hours of
feeding. Exposure to ticks in domestic and recreational areas can be
reduced 50%-90% through simple landscaping practices like removing brush and
leaf litter or creating a buffer pesticides to yards once or twice a year
can decrease the number of nymphal ticks 68%-100%.
For more information on tickborne illness prevention contact the Health
Department at 852-0197 (Henry) or 852-3115 (Stark) or visit our website at
www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County
Health Departments.

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