Tag Archives: ticks

April is Tick and Mosquito-borne Disease Awareness Month

Governor Pat McCrory recently declared this month “Tick and Mosquito-borne Disease Awareness Month” to bring attention to several illnesses that plague MosquitoNorth Carolina. From mosquito-borne illnesses like LaCrosse and West Nile viruses to tick-borne ailments like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease, we must all take necessary steps to protect our health. In Chatham County, tick-borne illnesses are a major concern, with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever topping the list each year.

With summer fast approaching and people spending more time outdoors, it is important for everyone to take precautions to against tick and mosquito bites. TBIs 2012Tick and mosquito-borne infections cause illnesses and deaths in North Carolina each year, with more than 800 cases reported in 2013. The vast majority of infections occur in the months of June through September. See what actions you can take to protect yourself!


Tick Education Media Event

If you’ve been around Chatham County for any longer than say- one month?- you’ve probably heard or realized that ticks are a MAJOR problem here. Tick-borne illnesses among the second most commonly reported diseases in Chatham. To combat this issue, the Chatham County Public Health Department is hosting a tick-borne disease education event. Scheduled for July 23, the event is free and members of the public are encouraged to attend. Learn more about the event!


Community Partners Breakfast – Part 2!

At last week’s Community Partners Epidemiology Forum, the second topic voted on by participants was Tick Borne Illnesses. Chatham County Public Health Departments EPI Response team enlisted Dr. Steven Meshnick from UNC Gillings School of Public Health to address the group. Click here to read more.


Environmental Health News

Over the last year the Chatham County Public Health Department Environmental Health Division has submitted blog postings about how you can protect yourself from ticks, how you can serve food safely during the holidays, how you can prevent or treat mold in your home, and how you can help protect your septic system.  When starting to write yet another blog about what you can do to protect yourself, I wondered what we in Environmental Health have done for you lately, so I came up with a list. To view the list and learn more click here!


Prevent Ticks from entering your yard:

Image courtesy Kirby Stafford III, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

Protect your property

  • Modify your landscape to create Tick-Safe Zones.  Some ticks only survive in moist environments.
  • Create a dry barrier between your yard and the woods.  Laying down wood chips or gravel in a 2-3’ wide perimeter around the yard will reduce the number of ticks that enter the grassy area.
  • Keep the yard mowed and clear of underbrush and leaf litter.
  • Keep play areas away from shrubs and other vegetation.
  • Use a pesticide in the yard. Contact Chatham County Cooperative Extension for more information about pesticide use (919-542-8202).
  • Use bait boxes that treat wild rodents with acaricide (pesticides that kill ticks).  When used properly, these boxes have been shown to reduce deer ticks around homes by more than 50%.  The pesticide does not harm the rodent.
  • Prevent deer from entering your yard by constructing physical barriers or clearing away vegetation that attracts the deer.

Common Diseases Transmitted by Ticks:

Rocky mountain spotted fever– is the most severe and most frequently reported rickettsial illness in the United States. Initial signs and symptoms of the disease include sudden onset of fever, headache, and muscle pain, followed by development of rash. The disease can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages, and without prompt and appropriate treatment it can be fatal. http://www.cdc.gov/rmsf/

Southern Tick associated rash illness A rash similar to the rash of Lyme disease has been described in humans following bites of the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum. The rash may be accompanied by fatigue, fever, headache, muscle and joint pains. This condition has been named southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI).

Tularemia Symptoms include: sudden fever, chills, headaches, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough, and progressive weakness. People can also catch pneumonia and develop chest pain, bloody sputum and can have trouble breathing and even sometimes stop breathing.  Other symptoms of tularemia depend on how a person was exposed to the tularemia bacteria. These symptoms can include ulcers on the skin or mouth, swollen and painful lymph glands, swollen and painful eyes, and a sore throat.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful in the later stages of disease. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics.

Relapsing Fever Relapsing Fever is a disease characterized by relapsing or recurring episodes of fever, often accompanied by headache, muscle and joint aches and nausea.  There are two forms of relapsing fever:

• Tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF)

• Louse-borne relapsing fever (LBRF)

Please call Chatham County Public Health Department Environmental Health Division with any questions at 919-542-8208 or visit our website at http://www.chathamnc.org/environmentalhealth