Summer’s In, So Are Mosquitos And Ticks

By: Morgan Reitzel, Follow South Jersey Intern

SOUTH JERSEY – The good news is summer is in! The bad news, so are mosquitoes and ticks. 

Since vector-borne illnesses such as West Nile Virus and Lyme disease can be transferred through infected blood sucking insects, the New Jersey Departments of Health (NJDOH), Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and Agriculture (NJDA) are asking South Jersey citizens to safeguard themselves from mosquitos, ticks, and related vector-borne diseases.

The state is urging property owners and renters tochange their standing water weekly to prevent breeding .Another tip can be to use air conditioning insteading of keeping the windows in your place open and ensuring that the window screens are in good condition. There are no human vaccines against these diseases nor specific treatment so it is important to protect yourself. 

“The DEP urges New Jersey residents spending time outdoors this summer to prevent tick and mosquito bites, which can transmit harmful diseases,” said Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette in a press release from the DEP. “Prevent tick bites by wearing repellents, avoiding wooded areas with tall grass, wearing light-colored long-sleeved shirts and pants, and performing frequent tick checks.” 

Some viruses that residents could pay attention to are the West Nile, Eastern Equine encephalitis, and Jamestown Canyon virus. Yet the West Nile virus is the most commonly reported mosquito-borne disease in New Jersey. 

These viral infections can be asymptomatic or cause mild to moderate illness especially for young people . The symptoms that you have been infected with are fever, headache, and fatigue. Unfortunately, the infections can progress and cause severe neurological damage as well as sudden focal weakness or paralysis. Citizens with a weaker immune system than most are likely to have severe neurological illnesses with lingering effects if contacted by the virus. It is important to note that some early symptoms can be confused with COVID-19 and other common viral illnesses such as the flu or cold. 

Ticks are also something to look out for. Ticks can give humans Lyme disease which is caused by a bacteria that ticks carry. Some symptoms can include a rash that looks like a bulls-eye, tiredness, fever, headache, stiff neck, muscle aches, and joint pain. If left untreated the infected person can develop problems with their nervous system, heart problems, and arthritis. The good thing is that antibiotic treatment is available for Lyme disease and generally effective if caught early enough. 

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