Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
May 27, 2016

Contact Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9356 or leah.bucco-white@nebraska.gov

It’s Tick and Mosquito Season in Nebraska
Protect Yourself from Tick and Mosquito-related Diseases

Lincoln – Warm and sunny weather means lots of Nebraskans will be spending quality time outdoors over Memorial Day weekend which puts people at greater risk for tick and mosquito bites.

“Ticks and mosquitos can carry diseases that make people sick,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. “Remember to take simple steps like using bug spray to help protect you and your family.”

 Other preventive tips include:

  • Dress in long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks when you’re outside. 
  • Drain standing water around your home. Standing water and warmth breed mosquitoes.
  • Do frequent tick checks after being outdoors and remove attached ticks promptly with fine-tipped tweezers.

Ticks can cause ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia and Lyme disease. Symptoms of tick- and mosquito-related illnesses can be similar - fever, rash, body aches and pains. Tick-related illnesses can be serious.  

Mosquitos can transmit West Nile virus and other diseases to people. Last year, there were 68 human cases of West Nile virus and two deaths.

Most people who are infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms or only mild flu-like symptoms.  Some people will develop a fever with other symptoms like headache, body aches, vomiting, fatigue and weakness. Less than one percent of people will develop a serious illness like encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissues).  People over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to the disease and are more likely to experience serious consequences.

DHHS starts its West Nile virus surveillance in early June. In addition, DHHS is also starting surveillance in limited areas of eastern Nebraska for the Aedes albopictus mosquito which is potential transmitter of Zika virus.

For people traveling to an area with Zika, dengue and/or chikungunya, it’s important to practice proper mosquito prevention when abroad and protect yourself from mosquito bites when you return.

You can find out more about tick-related diseases here www.cdc.gov/ticks/.

For more information about West Nile Virus, go to www.dhhs.ne.gov/wnv

For Zika-related traveler information and advisories, go to - http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-travel-information.

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