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The following is a list of diseases that become more common

Westford Eagle - 6/29/2018

The following is a list of diseases that become more common in warm weather, and that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tick-borne diseases

Anaplasmosis Anaplasmosis is a bacterial disease transmitted to humans by tick bites primarily from the black-legged tick and the western black-legged tick. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, chills, and muscle aches. Usually, symptoms occur within one to two weeks of a tick bite. The first-line treatment for adults and children of all ages is doxycycline.

Babesiosis Babesiosis is caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells and are spread by certain ticks. It mainly occurs in parts of the Northeast and upper Midwest and usually peaks during the warm months. Symptoms vary from asymptomatic to life-threatening. Disease is treatable.

Lyme disease Lyme disease is a bacterial disease transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system. Most cases can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics.

Prevention Steps to prevent tick-borne disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tick-borne diseases as well.

Mosquito-borne diseases

West Nile virus has been reported in all the continental states. There are currently no vaccines to prevent it, or medications to treat it. In North America, cases of West Nile virus occur during mosquito season, from summer through fall. Most infected people do not suffer from symptoms. About one in five develop a fever and other symptoms. About one in 150 develop a serious or potentially fatal illness.

Eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE Eastern equine encephalitis is a rare illness in humans, and only a few cases are reported in the United States each year -- most in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states. Most persons infected have no apparent illness. Severe cases involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures or coma. It is one of the most-severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States, with about 33 percent mortality and significant brain damage in most survivors. There is no specific treatment; care is based on symptoms.

Prevention Reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites. Fix or replace torn window and door screens. Stay indoors during times when mosquitoes are most active, such as at night.

Mammalian diseases

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. The virus affects the central nervous system and can ultimately cause death. Early symptoms in humans are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease advances, symptoms may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, excess salivating, difficulty swallowing and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms.

Prevention Control and supervise pets, including dogs, cats, ferrets and other mammals, with limited outside contact. Observe a regular vaccination cycle for pets. If a wild animal appears sick, contact local animal control.

More info: To learn more about seasonal illnesses and health concerns, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, cdc.gov, the Department of Public Health or contact your local public health agency.

Compiled by Margaret Smith


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