PRESS RELEASE

Date:                July 20, 2018

To:                   Local Media

Contact:           Luis Pantoja, Health Educator

                        Central Connecticut Health District

                        Email:

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

 

CCHD Encourages CT Residents to Take Precautions Against Vector-Borne Diseases

 

Now that it is summer and many of us are spending more time outdoors, Central Connecticut Health District (CCHD) encourages all Connecticut residents to take precautions to protect themselves against vector-borne disease transmission. Vector-borne diseases are infections transmitted (spread) through the bite of infected blood-feeding arthropods (vectors) such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. Vectors can carry infectious pathogens (germs) such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites that upon infection are the causative agents of common diseases such as Lyme, Anaplasmosis/Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, Zika, Dengue, and malaria.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the number of vector-borne disease cases from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have more than tripled in the US from 2004 to 2016, with more than 640,000 cases reported in the May 2018 issue of Vital Signs. In addition, nine new pathogens (germs) spread by mosquitoes and ticks have either been discovered or introduced since 2004 as evidenced by the recent outbreaks of Zika and chikungunya.

 

In the US, Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne disease, especially in the state of Connecticut, where the condition was first diagnosed and named in Old Lyme. Lyme disease is the tick-borne infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, transmitted by the bite of infected black-legged deer tick, Ixodes scapularis. In addition to Lyme disease, deer ticks can also transmit human anaplasmosis (caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum), babesiosis (caused by the parasite Babesia microti), and Powassan virus disease (caused by the Powassan virus). Personal protection measures and regular tick checks are the most effective ways to reduce the risk of contracting tick-borne disease.

 

Residents are encouraged to use EPA-registered insect repellents containing ingredients such as DEET, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and buy or treat items such as boots, pants, socks and tents with permethrin when spending time outdoors. Upon returning home, regular tick inspection, identification, and proper removal is strongly recommended for family members and pets. Take great care to check your body closely, especially in hard-to-see areas such as under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, back of the knees, in and around all head and body hair, between the legs, and around the waist. Additionally, residents are also advised to control ticks and fleas on family pets. Finally, residents are encouraged to take necessary steps in an effort to control mosquito, tick, and flea populations both inside and outside your home by installing protective nets/screens, keeping lawns mowed short, using approved pesticides, and emptying/covering items that may hold water.

 

For more information on vector-borne diseases, please visit the CDC at www.cdc.gov or visit the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. For more information on CCHD, please contact us by visiting www.ccthd.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @CCTHD4!

 

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Central Connecticut Health District (CCHD) is the local health department serving the towns of Berlin, Newington, Rocky Hill, and Wethersfield. The district was formed in June 1996 with the towns of Rocky Hill and Wethersfield. Berlin joined the District in 1998, followed by Newington in 2006. CCHD is overseen by a twelve member Board of Health and functions as an independent entity of government. Our central office is located in the Wethersfield Town Hall with satellite offices in Berlin, Newington, and Rocky Hill.