FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2013
CONTACT: Jennifer Miller, (608)
STATE OFFICIALS URGE DEER HUNTERS TO USE PRECAUTIONS TO AVOID TICK BITES
MADISON—Deer hunting season is upon us in Wisconsin and the state
Department of Health Services (DHS) is urging hunters to be aware of
blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks, when they are out in
heavily wooded areas.
While the risk of acquiring a tickborne illness is highest from
spring through summer when ticks are most active, people should still be
concerned about tick activity into late autumn, especially if the
weather is warm. Recent tick surveillance conducted by the University of
Wisconsin-Madison found significantly larger populations of ticks in the
north, central, and eastern regions of Wisconsin during 2013.
To date, there have been five tickborne diseases identified in
Wisconsin that occur following bites of blacklegged ticks. These
diseases include Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis,
and Powassan virus disease. While Lyme disease is the tickborne illness
most people are aware of, during 2012 DHS received over 600 reports of
non-Lyme disease tickborne illnesses. Tickborne illnesses can result in
mild symptoms that require out-patient treatment to severe infections
that require hospitalization, or if left untreated can lead to long term
health issues or even death.
“Everyone should take precautions to prevent tick bites when they
spend time outdoors, and this is especially true for hunters in the
woods,” said Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer. The key to
preventing tickborne diseases is to avoid tick bites, and to find and
remove ticks promptly, Anderson noted.
The following steps can help deer hunters prevent tick bites and
reduce the chance of getting tickborne diseases:
- Use effective tick repellents and apply according to the label
instructions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
recommends using repellents with 20% DEET on exposed skin and clothing
to prevent tick bites, but users should take special care to avoid
spraying in the hands, eyes and mouth. Repellents that contain
permethrin can also be applied to clothing.
- Wear clothes that will help shield you from ticks. Long-sleeved
shirts and long pants are best. Tuck pants into the top of socks or
boots to create a “tick barrier.” Light-colored clothing makes ticks
easier to spot. The dark colored ticks will also show up well
against blaze orange hunting clothing.
- Check your body frequently for ticks, and remove them promptly.
Blacklegged ticks are small and may be difficult to find, so careful
and thorough tick checks must be done on all parts of the body. It
is important to pay special attention to areas where ticks tend to
hide, such as the head, scalp, and body folds (armpit, behind the
knee, groin). Take a shower or a bath as soon as possible to remove
any ticks that may still be crawling on you.
- Remove attached ticks slowly and gently, using a pair of
thin-bladed tweezers applied as close to the skin as possible. Folk
remedies like petroleum jelly, nail polish remover, or burning
matches are not safe or effective ways to remove ticks.
For more information about the tickborne infections listed above, visit:
For information on insect repellents:
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November 04, 2013