CDC urges nationwide warning for blood-feeding insects

BLACKSBURG, Va. – As summer approaches there is an alarming alert out for the coming months: Beware of ticks and mosquitoes. 

The Center for Disease Control states from 2004 to 2016, tick-borne diseases have doubled, from 22,000 to 48,000 nationwide.

Even right here in our region the small insects pose a large threat. 

"What we are seeing more of lately is the deer tick and that has been during the past four to five years initially in the Roanoke Valley and now Blacksburg area. It is tied to the increase of the deer population," said Eric Day manager of insect identification lab at Virginia Tech. 

The deer tick can carry Lyme disease, the debilitating disease makes up more than 80 percent of all tick-borne cases.

Ticks are not the only problem we have to look forward to. Diseases carried by mosquitoes are not common in our area but they are on the rise.

“There are not so many in this region, but we do have a really big nuisance of mosquitoes in this area—(known as) the Asian tiger mosquito and it bites during the day and has the potential of being a disease-carrying mosquito,” said Day.

Day says there a few ways to prevent these harmful encounters.

•    Wear light-colored clothing so ticks can be found easily.
•    Conduct tick checks on children and pets every four hours they are outside.
•    Call the Health Department if you find unusual high numbers of mosquitoes near your home.
•    Wear long sleeves and pants for protection.

Also, when removing a tick be sure to use tweezers and to place it in rubbing alcohol and place it in a vial for a few months just in case disease symptoms develop and the tick needs to be identified.

Remember one should never burn the tick, because it could explode.