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Ticks & Mosquitos

Tickborne diseases are spread from ticks to people through bites.

Deer Ticks, also known as Black-Legged Ticks, are the most commonly found ticks in Essex County; especially  in the Champlain Valley.

Lyme Disease is the most commonly confirmed Deer Tick-borne disease being transmitted from ticks to people in Essex County.  However there are other diseases – Anaplasmosis and Babesiosis – carried by the Deer Tick.  There have been confirmed cases of these conditions in Essex County residents as well.

We recommend this tick-borne disease prevention strategy:

Keep Ticks Away!

  • Use repellents on bare skin following product-specific directions for applying and re-applying.
  • Help younger kids apply repellent to keep it away from eyes, nose, mouth and hands.
  • Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
  • Mow the lawn frequently.
  • Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents).
  • Remove old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.

Check for Ticks!

  • Change clothes after being outdoors.
  • Scrub while bathing to help remove ticks.
  • Use a flashlight and hand mirror to help see ticks in hard to see places.
  • Parents – check kids under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.
  • Check pets & gear too.  If possible leave gear outside.

Remove Ticks Promptly!

  • Use tweezers to grab the tick close to skin & pull straight up (don’t twist or jerk).
  • Clean the bite with soap & water.
  • Trash the tick – drop in alcohol, stick to tape or place in a sealed bag & make note of the date of the bite.
  • Watch the bite site for a rash or rashes.  Watch for symptoms of tick-related illness: fever/chills, aches/pains and/or rash.  Call your doctor if you have these symptoms.

The Tick Bite Bot is an interactive tool that will assist individuals on removing attached ticks and determining when to seek health care, if appropriate, after a tick bite.

The online mobile-friendly tool asks a series of questions covering topics such as tick attachment time and symptoms. Based on the user’s responses, the tool then provides information about recommended actions and resources.

Mosquitoes and Disease

Zika is currently active in Central America, South American, the Caribbean, Mexico and Puerto Rico. A small number of Zika infections have been found in south Florida that were likely spread by mosquitoes. CDC and NYSDOH advise pregnant women against traveling to areas with Zika virus, including certain areas in Florida and Texas. To date, the only cases in New York State are in people who acquired the virus while traveling to Zika-affected areas or through sexual transmission from someone who had traveled to those areas.

Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE, “triple E”) is very rare but serious. Mosquitoes infected with EEE virus (EEEV) can infect people, horses and other mammals, some birds, reptiles and amphibians. About 5-10 EEE human cases are reported each year in the U.S. Five cases of EEE in people in New York State have been reported since 1971. These cases were reported in 1971, 1983, 2009, 2010 and 2011 and occurred in Oswego and Onondaga counties. All five cases died. The risk of getting EEE is highest from late July through September. People at the greatest risk of developing severe disease are those over 50 years of age and younger than 15 years of age.

West Nile virus (WNV) is also transmitted to humans and some animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. West Nile virus was first found in New York State in 1999. Since 2000, 490 human cases and 37 deaths of WNV have been reported statewide.

Prevention of mosquito bites is the most important way to reduce your risk of mosquito-borne diseases. Take the following steps to protect yourself:

  • Cover your skin as completely as possible when outside when mosquitoes are present and active. Wear long sleeves, pants and socks.
  • Use insect repellent on exposed skin and follow label directions.
  • Make sure there are screens in your home’s windows and doors. Make sure the screens are free of rips, tears and holes.
  • Eliminate all standing water on around your home and property where mosquitoes can breed.
NYSDOH Required Activities as a Local Health Department

Our Activities

Lyme disease has been a nationally reported condition in the United States since 1991. The case definition has been modified over time with the latest updated in 2017. Reports of Lyme disease are collected and verified through state and local health departments in accordance with legal mandate and surveillance practices.

This Department has been conducting education and outreach activities in Essex County for years.  We follow a strategic outreach plan that is updated annually and conducted during tick season (Spring-Fall).  Activities are targeted with consideration for audiences, messaging & location.

Here are some examples:

✅ Tick-kit distribution: at community events, fairs, target groups & as requested

✅ Media-based education: this website, our Facebook page, newspaper ads and articles

✅ Event-based education: community-based fairs, health events, community events (like group hikes)

✅ For Children: education through ACAP pre-school & after-school programs; public schools; summer camps

✅ Through Towns: signs for community parks & trails; highway department education

✅ Communities: posters for golf courses & Fish & Game Clubs

✅ For Providers: local prevalence data, updates to diagnostic & treatment guidance.