Insect-borne disease precaution needed | VailDaily.com

Insect-borne disease precaution needed

Daily staff report
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EAGLE COUNTY — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is reporting a confirmed case of West Nile virus in Mesa County. While West Nile has not been reported in Eagle County yet this year, residents are encouraged to take precautions against mosquito, tick and flea bites. Insects transmit diseases including West Nile virus, Lyme disease, tularemia and plague.

The most effective way to prevent insect bites and related illnesses is to avoid habitats prone to mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. In the event that these situations cannot be avoided, take the following steps to prepare for outdoor activities:

Repel: Keep repellent containing DEET (20 to 30 percent) on hand and apply it regularly during outdoor activities. Wear long sleeves and long pants whenever possible, and spray commonly-worn outdoor clothing with permethrin. Permethrin is an insect-killing repellent that repels mosquitoes and other insects for up to 10 washes. The product is available at sporting goods and outdoor stores.

Check: Check pets, kids and yourself for ticks when traveling through wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Remove ticks from yourself, pets and children using tweezers as soon as possible. Talk with a veterinarian about tick and flea prevention and medication for pets.

Follow-up: If a rash or fever occurs one to four weeks after outdoor activity or an insect bite, seek medical attention. People diagnosed with illnesses transmitted through insect bites do not always remember coming in contact with the insects that cause the disease.

For more information on insect bite prevention, visit http://www.cdc.gov/ticks or http://www.eaglecounty.us/publichealth.