Insect-borne illnesses on the increase


The warm weather is here and so are bugs.

“Once I start sweating they start to come,” David LaBarge said. “And it’s really annoying.”

Illnesses have tripled due to mosquitos, ticks, and fleas bites. More than 640,000 cases were reported between 2004 and 2016.

“They sort of look like this big lump,” Kathryn Bobala said, and Aryana LaBarge added that “Sometimes it gets a little scratchy.”

Protecting your family from mosquitos, ticks and fleas can help to prevent illnesses such as Lyme disease and West Nile Virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nine new germs spread by mosquitos and ticks have been found in the United States.

Insect-borne illness symptoms can range from being merely annoying, to making you feel sick.

“Muscle aches and pains, joint swelling, in some cases rash and in some cases low grade fever,” Dr. R.F. Conway of AEIOU Urgent Care explained. “Fortunately, most of those illnesses are self limited and get better.”

Dr. Conway’s office has seen an increase in tick bites. “What were worried about is Lyme Disease,” he said, “because it’s very prevalent in this area.”

There are steps to take to reduce your risk. Guy George of Premier Pest Control in South Hadley told 22News that “Anywhere where water can collect for a period of time, you sort of have to police the area and look for those kinds of things, and eliminate those sources.”

Dr. Conway also said you have 96 hours after a tick bite to receive an oral antibiotic, which can help prevent Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

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