RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina public health officials on Tuesday issued a warning about
"Last year, we experienced a record number of
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
cases," said Dr. Jean-Marie Maillard, of the
North Carolina General Communicable Disease Control Branch.
"In 2003, the 157 reported cases of Lyme disease were more than twice the average reported annually between 1991 and 2000 and almost four times as many as the number of cases reported in 2001.
"The 331 cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever reported in 2003 were 2.7 times the average number of cases reported during the decade between 1991 and 2000. People need to be on the lookout for ticks. Perform at least a daily tick check on yourself and your children, more often if possible. Early removal of ticks can reduce your chance of infection."
Dr. Nolan Newton, who is chief of the Public Health Pest Management Section, said that grassy and wooded areas are particularly likely to be tick habitat.
"If you are going to walk in grass or forest, then you should wear long pants with your pants legs tucked into the top of your socks," Newton said. "You also should tuck your shirt tails into your pants so that ticks have a long way to climb before finding skin to attach to, and you should use an insect repellant that contains
or permethrin, according to the directions on the product label."
Tick bites also can cause ehrlichiosis in dogs.
Other tips for reducing tick habitat: