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Fairfax, VA (May 20, 2014) - As the summer season approaches and Americans begin spending more time outdoors, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds the public that prevention is critical in avoiding the spread of vector-borne diseases transmitted by pests such as mosquitoes and ticks. With rising temperatures and an increase in rainfall throughout much of the country comes a predicted increase in mosquito and tick populations, which means a heightened threat of the transmission of common diseases such as Lyme disease, West Nile virus and many others.
Lyme disease and West Nile virus infect thousands of Americans each year and are a growing concern, especially in light of the CDC's 2013 news that Lyme disease is ten times more common than previously reported. However, other lesser-known vector-borne diseases, such as the Heartland virus, babesiosis, and dengue fever, are found around the country in smaller numbers, with the highest numbers of cases reported during the warmer summer months. These diseases are transmitted when a mosquito or tick bites and feeds on the blood of its host, making it critical for steps to be taken to avoid being bitten in the first place. For Americans spending time enjoying their summer vacation in their backyards or traveling abroad, this means taking the time to brush up on the most effective means of prevention.
"It is essential that Americans understand how to protect themselves and their families, recognize the signs and symptoms of these diseases, and seek immediate medical attention if they are experiencing signs of infection," said Dr. Jorge Parada, medical spokesperson for the NPMA. "Common early signs of Lyme disease include one or more bull's-eye rashes anywhere on the body, joint pain, chills, fever, fatigue and headache. When it comes to West Nile virus, symptoms could include fever, headache and loss of appetite, or in more severe cases confusion and increasing weakness, although in 80 percent of cases, people may display little to no symptoms at all."
According to the NPMA, the top five ways to protect against mosquito and tick-borne illnesses include:
For more information on pest prevention, or to find a licensed pest professional, visit PestWorld.org.
The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. For more information, visit PestWorld.org.