Summer illnesses on the rise - FOX 5 KRBK is Springfield MO source for News and Weather

Summer illnesses on the rise

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SPRINGFIELD, MO - Summer is right around the corner and kids growing up in the Ozarks like to go to ball parks, the creek, and camping. But that, also, means they are susceptible to summer diseases.

They’re lurking in the grass and in the air! From mosquito’s to tick’s almost everyone has been bitten by a vector. John Brown, with Mercy, says in the last 12 years there’s been a significant increase in mosquito and tick borne illnesses.

“Missouri, actually, leads the nation in ehrlichiosis which is one of the most significant tick borne illnesses," explains Brown.

He says in the Midwest, particularly Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma more than a third of all ehrlichia cases come from those three states. Mosquito borne diseases can have symptoms including: fever, headache, chills, and vomiting. And tick borne symptoms are: headache, a rash, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

"When it comes to ehrilichiosis there are about 1,500 cases diagnosed every year," says Brown. "Missouri, typically, has about 500 of those cases.”

Brown explains that there are, probably, more cases where people go un-diagnosed. And that can have deadly affects.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 80 percent of vector control organizations report needing improvement in resistance for these types of germs. So how do we protect ourselves during the summer months? Brown says, "The most important thing is prevention. Prevention through insect repellents and just checking to make sure you didn’t get any tick bites when you get home after being outdoors.”

He, also, wants folks to know that just because you get bit by a tick or a mosquito doesn’t mean that you’re going to get a disease.There are ways you can protect yourself. 

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • Treat items, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents with permethrin or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear
  • Take steps to control ticks and fleas on pets
  • Apply repellent every 12 hours
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