Mosquitos in Vermont are primarily a nuisance insect that in rare cases can transmit viruses to humans, particularly between July and the first hard frost in the Fall. West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEE) are infectious diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause rare but serious disease. Although the risk of getting infected is low, it’s not zero. In 2013 and 2014, the Vermont Department of Health estimated the greater Middlebury area to be at moderate risk for EEE. It’s important to take steps to reduce your risk of infection. Prevention measures include:
- Limiting the amount of time spent outdoors at dusk and dawn.
- Avoiding areas where there lots of mosquitos – i.e. head indoors if there are a lot of mosquitos in your area.
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants outside when mosquitoes are active.
- Using insect repellents that are labeled as being effective against mosquitoes.
- Effective ingredients are DEET, picaridin, and oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Fixing any holes in the screens where you live, and making sure they are tightly attached to the doors and windows.
- Cover baby carriages or outdoor play spaces with mosquito netting.
- Remove standing water around your house or living area.
The Vermont Department of Health offers more information on Mosquito borne Diseases in Vermont, including EEE and WNV at: http://healthvermont.gov/prevent/arbovirus/index.aspx .
Ticks have become quite abundant in many parts of Vermont. While ticks are mostly a nuisance, some can carry bacteria, viruses and parasites that cause illness. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness among people in Vermont. Fortunately, illness can be prevented by using simple measures such as:
- Avoiding wooded and bushy areas with high grass and a lot of leaf litter, particularly in May, June, and July.
- Applying insect repellent with up to 30% DEET on skin and clothing when you go outdoors. Don’t spray repellent on skin under clothing.
- Spraying permethrin on clothing. Don’t use permethrin on skin. Permethrin kills ticks on contact, and provides protection through several washings.
- Covering up by wearing long pants, long sleeves, and long socks. Light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks more easily and tucking pant legs into socks or boots and tucking shirts into pants help keep ticks on the outside of clothing.
- Performing routine tick checks by using a mirror to view all parts of your body (in armpits, behind ears, in groin, etc.).
- Removing ticks promptly by either visiting the Parton Health Center, or following the instructions on tick removal from the Vermont Department of Health: http://healthvermont.gov/prevent/zoonotic/tickborne/documents/if_you_have_a_tick_bite.pdf
- DO NOT use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish or other products to remove a tick. These methods are ineffective.
- Fortunately, Lyme disease is not usually transmitted within the first 36 hours of tick attachment.
The Vermont Department of Health offers more information on Tick-borne Diseases in Vermont, including Lyme Disease at: http://healthvermont.gov/prevent/zoonotic/tickborne/Tickborne_diseases.aspx.