Ticks | Mosquitoes | Rabies

Tick-related Diseases & Repellants

Deer ticks in Massachusetts can carry the germs that cause lyme disease, babesiosis and human granulocytic anaplasmosis (also known as human granulocytic ehrlichiosis). Deer ticks are capable of spreading more than one type of germ in a single bite.
  • Lyme disease is caused by bacteria (germs) that are spread by tiny, infected deer ticks. Both people and animals can have Lyme disease. Lyme disease is spread by the bite of an infected deer tick. The tick usually must be attached to a person for at least 24 hours before it can spread the germ. 
  • HGA (human granulocytic anaplasmosis) is caused by bacteria (germs) that attack certain types of white blood cells called granulocytes. HGA is one of the diseases that can be spread by the bite of an infected deer tick. The longer a tick remains attached and feeding, the higher the likelihood that it may spread the bacteria. Deer ticks in Massachusetts can also carry the germs that cause Lyme disease and babesiosis. Deer ticks are capable of spreading more than one type of germ in a single bite.
  • Babesiosis is a disease caused by a microscopic parasite (a type of germ similar to those that cause malaria) that infects red blood cells.Babesiosis is spread by the bite of an infected deer tick. The longer a tick remains attached and feeding,the higher the likelihood that it may spread the parasite. The tick must generally be attached to a person for at least 24-36 hours before it can spread the germ. 

Mosquito-related Diseases & Repellants

  • Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare but serious disease caused by a virus.The virus that causes EEE is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. In Massachusetts, the virus is most often identified in mosquitoes found in and around freshwater, hardwood swamps. More information about different types of mosquitoes that can spread the virus are on the MDPH website at www.mass.gov/dph/rnosquito.
  • West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-carried virus that can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis. WNV is most commonly spread to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. More information about different types of mosquitoes that can spread WNV are at www.mass.gov/dphlwnv.

  • Zika is a virus (germ), spread by mosquitoes, which can cause fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red or pink eyes). Most people infected with Zika virus do not even get sick. The kinds of mosquitoes that are known to carry Zika virus are generally not found in Massachusetts.
  • Spraying temporarily reduces adult mosquito populations and has been used in the U.S. and other countries for many years for nuisance control and more importantly, as a means of reducing and preventing mosquito-borne disease. Your local health department or board of health will know best if spraying for mosquitoes is likely to occur in your community. 
  • Information for Travelers describes  the most common serious diseases people get from mosquitoes while visiting tropical countries including malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever. Examples of tropical regions are Central America and most of South America, much of Africa, most of India, Southeast Asia and Indonesia.

Rabies

Rabies is a very serious disease that affects the brain and spinal cord of mammals (if an animal has hair or fur, it is a mammal). Rabies spreads when an animal with rabies bites another animal or person. The rabies virus is in the saliva (spit) of infected animals. Infected animals can also spread rabies if their saliva gets into a
scratch or other wound, or the eyes, nose or mouth of another person or animal. If your pet is bitten or scratched by another animal, call your veterinarian to help you determine if the animal needs medical attention.