Health Advisory: Protect Yourself from Vector-borne Diseases

Vector-borne Summer Diseases July 2019

Local experts warn vector-borne diseases continue to be a growing threat to people’s health.

Warm summer weather means an increase in outdoor activities and an increase risk of exposure to ticks, mosquitoes and other vectors that spread diseases.  Every year hundreds of thousands of people get sick from tick and mosquito bites in the U.S. Protect yourself from the viruses and bacteria these vectors spread!

  • Wear insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone
  • Wear long sleeve shirts and pants, tucking pants into shoes
  • Avoid areas with high grass, walking in center of trails
  • Bathe as soon as possible after being outdoors to find crawling ticks before they bite
  • Check your entire body for ticks and remove right away. Parents should check children thoroughly
  • Check your pet daily for ticks and talk to your veterinarian about tick prevention products
  • Avoid mowing over dead animals
  • Avoid physical contact with rodents or sick animals
  • Avoid eating wild rabbits


Proper tick removal is important. Learn how to remove a tick here:

Learn more about the vector-borne diseases to be aware of in Union County below: 

West Nile Virus –

West Nile Virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.  Most infected people will show little or no signs of disease.  About 1 in 5 infected people may show signs of West Nile fever.  Symptoms may include fever above 100ºF AND severe headache, stiff neck, mental confusion, muscle weakness, shaking, paralysis, or rash.

Tularemia –

Tularemia is a bacterial disease of animals and humans. The disease is common in animals but very rare in humans. It is most common during the summer. Humans can become infected through several routes, including tick and deer fly bites, skin contact with infected animals (i.e. wild rabbits, rodents, squirrels), ingestion of contaminated water, and inhalation of contaminated aerosols or agricultural dusts. Symptoms vary depending on the route of infection. It can cause a skin ulcer at the point of contact or at the site of a bite, as well as swollen lymph nodes near the skin ulcer, severe headaches, a fever, chills, cough and fatigue.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever –

Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a bacterial disease spread through the bite of an infected tick. Several types of ticks found in Eastern Oregon transmit RMSF as well as other diseases. Most people who get sick with RMSF will have a fever, headache, and rash. The rash usually starts on the arms and ankles and moves to the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.

Lyme disease –

Lyme disease is a bacterial disease that is spread to people through the bite of several types of blacklegged ticks. Symptoms of early Lyme disease include a characteristic skin rash (bull’s eye rash), fatigue, chills and fever, headache muscle or joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes.

Consult your healthcare provider if you develop symptoms after a potential exposure!