Wisconsin health officials are encouraging residents to take care to avoid tick and mosquito bites as the weather gets warmer. Both ticks and mosquitoes can transmit various illnesses. Lyme disease, which is spread by ticks, and West Nile virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, account for most of the disease spread by ticks and mosquitoes in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin map/National Atlas of the United States
Wisconsin map/National Atlas of the United States

Concerning Lyme disease, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows Wisconsin among the top 20% of states reporting cases of tick-borne disease in the country. Wisconsin reported 4,299 cases of Lyme disease in 2017, the highest number reported in the state to date.

Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Prevention, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

In addition, there were 51 human cases of West Nile virus reported in 2017, the highest number in Wisconsin since 2012. Certain dead birds can be an indication of West Nile virus in an area.

Many people consider ticks and mosquitoes to be an annoyance when they’re enjoying outdoor activities; however, both can make people sick . Yet, if people take simple precautions, they can enjoy the outdoors while avoiding serious illness.

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself from illnesses spread by mosquitoes and ticks:

  • Use EPA-approved repellent(link is external) and apply according to label instructions.
  • Wear light colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
  • Take steps to control ticks on pets(link is external).
  • Check for and safely remove ticks from family and pets.
  • Take steps to control mosquitoes outside your home.