Health officials want outdoorsy New Yorkers to be mindful that this year’s pleasant winter and spring have ushered in a hearty tick season — and the disease bounty carried by these bugs.
Moreover, age-old guidance has shifted in recent years, due to the rise of Powassan virus, a rare but serious infection that can cause brain inflammation.
Folks have been accustomed to do a full body check at the end of the day, said Jennifer White, director of the Vector Borne Disease Unit within the New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Communicable Disease Control. Those once-a-day checks are important for stopping Lyme disease, the most prevalent tick-borne disease in New York, she said. But Powassan virus can be transmitted in as little as 15 minutes.
“We really are trying to refresh our educational messaging to remind folks that it’s very important to be vigilant about checking your body for ticks while you’re still outside,” White said.
She reminded New Yorkers that it’s also valuable to use repellent and wear long sleeves, long pants and light colors because it’s easier to recognize a tick on a pair of khakis than jeans or black pants. The New York State Department of Health maintains a series of videos and tipsheets on how to avoid tick bites and Lyme disease.
Tick season got off to an early start in the Northeast, likely driven by the mild temperatures. Over January and February, the Northeast recorded its highest total incidence of tick bite-related emergency department visits in nearly six years, according to a data tracker from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This rate — 38 emergency department visits per 100,000 people — was twice that of the same period last year.
“We can have ticks emerge anytime, year round that the temperatures are over 40 degrees [Fahrenheit]spuse White. Atât New York, cât și New Jersey Perioada cea mai caldă a fost ianuarie și februarie înregistrat în acest an, conform Administrației Naționale pentru Oceane și Atmosfere.
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