The Division of Public Health is warning residents that with warm weather comes ticks, fleas, mosquitoes and increased chances of vector-borne diseases.
Whether staying home or traveling in the coming months, DPH wanted to remind Delawareans of the risk of these diseases, which include Lyme disease, Zika and West Nile Virus, and to share prevention tips.
In 2016, Delaware reported 545 cases of tick borne diseases and 35 cases of mosquito borne diseases, according to data just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC listed Lyme disease as the state’s top tick borne disease, accounting for 93 percent — 506 — of the cases. DPH recently finalized its 2017 data and is reporting 608 cases of Lyme disease last year, an increase of more than 100 cases since 2016. The CDC believes that the actual number of Lyme disease cases nationwide is 10 times higher than what is reported to doctors or state and county health departments.
Because May is also Lyme Disease Awareness Month, DPH launched a campaign titled, “BLAST Lyme disease,” which was adapted with permission from the Ridgefield, Connecticut, BLAST Program. The “BLAST” acronym is a way to remember five steps to take to protect family and pets from Lyme disease — bathe or shower within two hours of coming indoors, look for ticks on body and remove them, apply repellent to body and clothes, spray yards and treat pets.
The BLAST campaign will run through the summer and early fall months and includes advertisements on Facebook, several local websites and Spanish-language publications. DPH has also updated its website to include fun activities for children to learn about Lyme disease called “Kids Korner” and has detailed instructions for tick removal.
For more, visit de.gov/lyme.