LCHD Encourages Residents to Take Action to Prevent Mosquito and Tick Bites 

June 5, 2024

Livingston County Health Department (LCHD) is encouraging residents to take precautions against mosquito and tick bites this summer. Mosquitoes in Michigan may carry viruses like West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), which can be passed to people or animals through a bite from an infected mosquito. Ticks can carry diseases like Lyme disease, Tularemia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and anaplasmosis, and can cause Alpha-gal syndrome, also known as the red-meat allergy or tick-bite meat allergy.

LCHD monitors mosquitoes and ticks in Livingston County in coordination with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) by participating in the Vector-Borne Disease Surveillance and Prevention Program. This surveillance program aims to collect mosquito and tick data to help MDHHS and our local community prepare for emerging diseases. Everyone in the community should take steps to protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes or ticks. People who engage in outdoor work and recreational activities are at greater risk.

 

Prevent Tick Bites

Livingston County is now designated as a county with known risk for Lyme disease. To conduct surveillance, LCHD performs tick drags throughout the county to collect black-legged deer ticks. Deer ticks can cause Lyme disease.  Once collected, ticks are sent to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) for testing.

Ticks need to be attached for 24 to 72 hours to transmit Lyme disease. LCHD encourages anyone who finds an attached tick and wants it identified, to submit a clear photo to the health department’s reporting form (https://bit.ly/3VkyHDk).  This is the best way to determine if you or a family member may have been exposed to Lyme disease.  In humans, early signs of Lyme disease can be like the flu (fever, chills, body aches). Lyme disease can cause a rash at the bite site that looks like a bullseye target.

The best defense against Lyme disease is reducing exposure to ticks by:

  • Using insect repellent containing the active ingredient DEET or other EPA-approved products. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use. To find a repellent that is right for you, use the EPA’s search tool: https://bit.ly/2tIJyLl.
  • Performing a tick check on the body and pets when returning inside from being outdoors.
  • Removing ticks immediately with fine-tipped tweezers. For information on how to remove a tick, visit https://bit.ly/3RaX0Bh.
  • Applying pesticides to high-risk areas in the yard as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Properly maintaining yard or land (e.g., trimming very tall grass).
  • Walking in the center of hiking trails to avoid taller grasses/vegetation.
  • Wearing light-colored clothing to make it easier to find ticks on your body.

 

Fight Mosquito Bites

Mosquito traps are placed throughout Livingston County and collected samples are tested to identify mosquitoes that have the capability of transmitting EEE or other diseases. EEE is the most dangerous mosquito-borne disease in the United States, with a 30% fatality rate in people who become ill. EEE has been reported in animals and people throughout the state.  In recent years, Livingston County has had a human case of EEE, as well as in a deer and multiple horses.

Residents can protect themselves and their families from mosquito-borne diseases by:

  • Using insect repellent containing the active ingredient DEET or other EPA-approved products.
  • Wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors.
  • Emptying containers of standing water near your home such as flowerpots, unused children’s pools, buckets, birdbaths, and other water-holding containers where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.
  • Maintaining window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors.

 

Horses are also vulnerable to EEE, with a 90% fatality rate in horses that become ill. The disease is not spread through horse-to-horse or horse-to-human contact. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development recommends that owners protect their horses by:

  • Talking to their veterinarian about vaccinating horses against EEE and other mosquito-borne diseases.
  • Placing horses and other livestock in a barn under fans during peak mosquito activity (dusk to dawn).
  • Using an insect repellant approved for use on animals.
  • Contacting a veterinarian if an animal shows signs of illness.

 

For additional Environmental Health information visit https://milivcounty.gov/environmental-health/ or call at 517-546-9858.

 

CONTACT

Courtney Rynkiewicz, Public Information Officer
Livingston County Health Department
(517) 546-9850
LCHD.org
facebook.com/myLCHD
instagram.com/myLCHD

Livingston County Health Department Logo
Matt Bolang

Matt Bolang
Health Officer

Phone

(517) 546-9850

Hours

Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed County Holidays

Location

2300 E Grand River Ave
Suite 102
Howell, MI 48843

Fax

(517) 546-6995