With warmer weather comes tick season. If you plan on any outdoor activities, it may be a good idea to brush up on tick prevention information to keep yourself and your family safe. Tick are normally found near the ground in bushy or wooded areas. Though they cannot jump or fly, they still manage to find a way to a host. Ticks will climb tall grasses and shrubs and wait for a host to brush up against them. At that point, ticks will make their way to your skin and attach.
So how can you protect yourself from these opportunistic arachnid? If you know you’ll be outdoors, particularly in wooded or bushy areas, prevention is key!
- Use insect repellent with DEET.
- Wear permethrin-treated clothes.
- Treat dogs for ticks.
- Check for ticks after outdoor activities.
- Shower soon after coming indoors.
If you do find a tick has attached to you, there are safe ways to remove ticks. Tick removal steps include:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the tick’s mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth parts with clean tweezers.
- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
If you develop a rash or fever within a few weeks of after removing a tick, be sure to visit your primary care physician. Make note of when you were bit and where you most likely got bit.
Every year, Public Health Solutions maintains surveillance of mosquito activity in our five-county area. This includes testing mosquitoes for West Nile Virus (WNV) and any associated infections reported at our local hospitals. The most recent report includes the following.
To date (10/02/2018), there have been:
- 163 cases of WNV in Nebraska
- 80 cases non-neuroinvasive
- 83 neuroinvasive
- Highest number of cases is in the 51-60 year old age group
- 8 deaths related WNV infection
- Age 61-70: 2 deaths
- Age 71+: 6 deaths
In the PHS District
Probable WNV Cases in PHS district: 4
Probable Case Locations: Fillmore County: 2, Saline County: 1, Thayer County: 1
Click here to learn more about West Nile Virus and how to protect yourself and your family.
It’s bat season again. Higher levels of bat activity increases the possibility of rabies exposure.
“August is the peak month for testing bats for rabies,” said Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS. “It’s important for people to be careful around bats and other wild animals like skunks, foxes, coyotes and raccoons or domestic stray animals like cats and dogs which are less likely to be vaccinated. These animals could potentially have rabies and transmit it to people.”
Bats eat insects so they are a valuable to us, however they are also a natural reservoir for rabies. Rabies is caused by a virus that affects the nervous system and is transmitted by the bite of an infected animal or if saliva from a rabid animal gets directly into an open wound or a person’s eyes, nose, or mouth. Rabies is generally fatal without preventive treatment.
Help prevent the spread of rabies by following these recommendations:
- Be a responsible animal owner. Keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats, ferrets, and other animals you own.
- Seek immediate veterinary assistance for your pet if it’s bitten by a wild animal or exposed to a bat.
- Do not touch, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
- Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick, wild animals to health. Call an animal rescue agency for assistance.
- Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to reduce the risk of contact with rabid animals.
- Maintain homes and other buildings so bats and other animals can’t get inside.
- If you wake up and find a bat in your room, you should try to safely capture the bat and have it tested. The same precautions should be used if you see a bat in a room with an unattended child. Do not attempt to capture the bat unless you can do so without putting yourself at risk for physical contact or being bitten. This can be done by covering the bat with a large can or bucket, and close the door to the room.
Call Public Health Solutions at 402 826 3880, if you have questions or concerns relative to wild animal exposure
Public Health Solutions is now accepting reports of dead birds. We are interested in the corvid species, which includes crows and bluejays (see pictures below). In partnership with DHHS, local health departments begin surveillance of the bird population on June 1st, as part of a comprehensive West Nile virus program. Mosquitoes acquire the virus from infected birds and pass it on to other birds, animals and people. Humans CANNOT acquire West Nile virus directly from birds. If you see a dead corvid species bird that appears freshly dead (body intact, no insect infestation or sunken eyes), please call us immediately. If we determine that the bird is suitable for testing, we will give you further instructions and come out to pick up the bird. To report a dead bird, call Public Health Solutions at 402-826-3880 or toll free at 1-844-830-0813.
Examples of corvids: