The Best Defense Against Ticks & Tick-Borne Diseases is You!
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. The tick responsible for transmitting the bacterium that causes Lyme disease is the black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus). This tick is prevalent in Marin and Sonoma counties and officials at the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District are urging the public to take personal protection measures when participating in outdoor activities.
While ticks are active year-round in both counties, residents need to be extra cautious this time of year when the nymphal ticks are most active,” stated Angie Nakano, Scientific Programs Manager for the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District. “Nymphal ticks are extremely tiny (the size of a poppy seed) and are sometimes difficult to detect on your body”.
While adult ticks can be found in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, especially alongside trails, nymphal ticks are commonly found in leaf litter, logs and mossy rocks.
Personal protection measures taken before, during and after being outdoors can help to reduce your risk of tick bites and tick-borne diseases.
• Wear light colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants when hiking, walking or working in areas where ticks may be present.
• Apply repellent containing DEET (at least 20% concentration) on exposed skin to repel ticks as well as mosquitoes.
• Showering after being in tick habitat helps to detect ticks. Continue to periodically check your body for several days after you have been in tick habitat.
• Reduce the risk of ticks entering your home by checking and removing ticks from pets.
• Protect your pets from ticks and tick-borne disease by discussing preventative measure with your veterinarian.
It is extremely important to remove ticks correctly in order to reduce the likelihood of the transmission of a tick-borne disease. Removal techniques that cause trauma to a tick may increase your chances of becoming infected. Do not squish, burn, smother or twist ticks. Ideally, use tweezers to grasp the head of the tick as close to the skin as possible, and pull straight out. Contact your physician if you become ill after a tick bite.
To learn more about ticks and tick bite prevention visit the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control’s website at www.msmosquito.com.