Spring and summer are high season for ticks and mosquitoes and also when we spend more time outside. Ticks can cause disease such as Lyme disease, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis. Some species of mosquitoes in MA can carry West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
Click here to learn more about ticks, the diseases they carry, and how to protect yourself
Click here to learn more about mosquitoes, the diseases they carry, and how to protect yourself
Most mosquito bites will only cause itching or skin irritation, but some species in Massachusetts can carry West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The types of mosquitoes known to carry Zika virus are not generally found in Massachusetts, but they are found in other states and other parts of the world. If you are traveling this summer, check the CDC website for travel advisories related to Zika virus. Mosquito-borne illnesses can be very severe so taking steps to avoid mosquito bites is important. You can protect yourself by reducing mosquito breeding in your home and using mosquito repellent. The US Environmental Protection Agency has a helpful tool to help you find the repellent that is right for you.
Ticks are tiny bugs mostly found in shady, damp, brushy, wooded, or grassy areas. Infected ticks are found throughout Massachusetts and New England, not just on Cape Cod. Ticks do not fly or jump. They attach to animals or people that come into direct contact with them. Deer ticks (pictured on the right) and dog ticks are found throughout Massachusetts. Lone Star ticks are found in some places in Massachusetts.
The most common tick-borne diseases in Massachusetts are Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis. Other diseases that are more rare, but still occur, are Tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Borrelia miyamotoi, and Powassan virus. Tick-borne illnesses can be very severe so taking steps to avoid tick bites is important.
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself is check yourself for ticks once a day and after being outside. Using tick repellent is another important prevention measure. The US Environmental Protection Agency has a helpful tool to help you find the repellent that is right for you.
While testing ticks can provide useful information, there are some important things to consider when deciding whether to test a tick. Click here to learn more and see a list of tick identification and testing locations. If you have been bitten by a tick, you should speak to your health care provider.