Illinois illnesses from insect bites increased by 58 percent

Posted5/11/2018 7:00 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is warning the public to take precautions against tick and mosquito bites, saying reported cases of infections have increased over the past decade.

The department cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showing that the number of people across the U.S. being infected by diseases from mosquitoes, ticks and fleas has tripled from 2004 to 2016. Reported cases have increased in Illinois by 58 percent in that same time period.

Ticks and mosquitoes can carry diseases causing mild to severe illness, and even death in some cases. The most common mosquito-borne illness in the state is West Nile virus, which can cause paralysis or death in severe cases.

The department recommends people use insect repellent containing DEET to repel the insects.

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