Epidemiologist: Prevent tick-borne illnesses

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota's state epidemiologist recommends that residents use repellent and frequent checks to prevent tick-borne illnesses such as tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Dr. Lon Kightlinger says ticks need to be attached for several hours to spread infection so people can reduce their risk by checking for and removing ticks right away. Residents can also tuck pants into socks and spray clothes and exposed skin with tick repellent to further reduce risk.

The department in 2013 investigated four cases of Lyme disease, seven cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, seven cases of tularemia and one case each of ehrlichiosis and babesiosis.

The Ioxdes deer tick that carries Lyme disease prefers heavily forested areas in Wisconsin and Minnesota, so most areas of South Dakota are not suitable habitat.

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