Live in or traveling to Atlanta, Chicago or Washington DC? Be sure to protect yourself from mosquitoes! The odds of being bitten by a mosquito in these three cities are the highest in America, says pest control expert Orkin. This week Orkin put out their Top 20 Mosquito Cities and Atlanta led the list for the second year in a row.

Mosquitos can cause much more damage than just an itchy bite. Orkin’s technical services director, Harrison, states “Their bites can cause allergic reactions and spread diseases, which means families need to take precautions against mosquitoes when outdoors in their own yards and around their communities, as well as when they travel. Besides being an itchy nuisance, mosquitoes can transmit diseases, including West Nile virus and encephalitis. Chikungunya, a new virus to the United States that was first found in the Americas on an island in the Caribbean in 2013, is also spread by mosquitoes”.


Are you at risk for West Nile virus?

Almost 40,000 people in the U.S. have been reported with West Nile virus disease since 1999, and of those over 17,000 have been seriously ill and more than 1600 have died. Many more cases of illness are not reported to CDC.
Anyone living in an area where West Nile virus is present in mosquitoes can get infected. West Nile virus has been detected in all lower 48 states (not in Hawaii or Alaska) and outbreaks have occurred every summer since 1999.


How to protect yourself from West Nile Virus and other mosquito transmitted diseases:

  • No one is safe from any mosquito transmitted infectious diseases, but there are steps you can take to help prevent these diseases.
  • Apply insect repellent on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors. Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent. Permethrin sprayed on clothing provides protection through several washes. Don’t spray repellent on skin under clothing and don’t use permethrin on skin.
  • Cover up! Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants and socks while outdoors to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Avoid mosquitoes as much as possible. Limit the amount of time you spend outdoors between dusk and dawn. During these times mosquitoes that spread West Nile virus bite most frequently.
  • Support your local community mosquito control programs. Mosquito control activities are most often handled at the local level, such as through county or city government. The type of mosquito control methods used by a program depends on the time of year, the type of mosquitoes to be controlled, and the habitats where the mosquitoes live. Methods can include eliminating mosquito larval habitats, applying insecticides to kill mosquito larvae, or spraying insecticides from trucks or aircraft to kill adult mosquitoes. Your local mosquito control program can provide information about the type of products being used in your area. Check with your local health department for more information.


What insect repellent to use:

The CDC recommends a variety of safe and effective mosquito repellents. Look for these active ingredients recommended by CDC and EPA:

  •  DEET
  • Picaridin
  • IR3535
  • Plant-based oil of lemon eucalyptus

Pick your favorite insect repellent and use it whenever you go outside!
Stay safe this Memorial Day weekend! If you have questions on how to protect yourself from mosquitos and infectious diseases tweet us @ShepardMedical.



With summer right around the corner Lyme Disease cases are sure to rise. Learn how to protect yourself and pets from this tick transmitted disease.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an infection that is transmitted by ticks. Ticks that have been infected with a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi can transmit Lyme Disease to humans and pets. Ticks typically get the bacterium by biting infected animals, like deer and mice. Although most people who get tick bites do not get Lyme disease it is a disease that can be very serious if not treated promptly.  The risk for contracting the disease increases the longer the tick is attached to the body.


Where is it prevalent?

Lyme Disease can be found predominantly in the upper east coast , upper midwest, northern California and the Oregon coast. The disease is slowly spreading inland most likely due to bird and deer migration.

To determine if you could be at risk for lyme Disease you should assess whether deer ticks are active in your area. The population density and percentage of infected ticks that may transmit Lyme Disease vary greatly from one region to another. There is an even great variation from county to county within a state and from area to area within a county. For example, less than 5% of adult ticks south of Maryland are infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, while up to 50% are infected in tick infested areas in the northeast. The tick infection rate in Pacific coastal states is between 2% and 4%.

The prevalence of Lyme Disease in the northeast and upper mid-west is due to the presence of large numbers of the deer tick’s preferred hosts – white-footed mice and deer – and their proximity to humans. White-footed mice serve as the principal “reservoirs of infection” on which many larval and juvenile ticks feed and become infected with the Lyme Disease spirochete. An infected tick can then transmit infection the next time it feeds on another host, such as a human or pet.


How can I protect myself from Lyme Disease?

There is currenly no vaccine for Lyme Disease. Vaccines were formerly on the market but have not been commercially available since 2002. Further studies of Lyme Disease vaccines are needed.

To best protect yourself avoid tick-infested areas. Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks attaching to the body so it is important to use tick-bite protection techniques when visiting known tick-infested areas. Using spray insect repellant containing DEET onto exposed skin can deter ticks. Wear long pants tucked into boots and long sleeves to protect the skin. Clothing, children, and pets should be examined for ticks periodically while outdoors and then thourougly once returning home. Ticks can be removed gently with tweezers and saved in a jar for later identification if needed. Once returning home bathe the skin and scalp and wash clothing.


What are the symptoms of Lyme Disease?

The first symptom is usually an expanding rash (called erythema migrans, or EM, in medical terms) which is thought to occur in up to 90% of all Lyme Disease cases. An EM rash generally has the following characteristics:

  • Usually (but not always) radiates from the site of the tickbite
  • Appears either as a solid red expanding rash or blotch, or a central spot surrounded by clear skin that is in turn ringed by an expanding red rash (looks like a bull’s-eye)
  • Appears an average of 1 to 2 weeks (range = 3 to 30 days) after disease transmission
  • Has an average diameter of 5 to 6 inches
  • (range = 2 inches to 2 feet)
  • Persists for about 3 to 5 weeks
  • May or may not be warm to the touch
  • Is usually not painful or itchy

Around the time the rash appears, other symptoms such as joint pains, chills, fever, and fatigue are common. These symptoms may be brief, only to recur as a broader spectrum of symptoms as the disease progresses.

As the Lyme Disease spirochete continues spreading through the body, a number of other symptoms including severe fatigue, a stiff, aching neck, and peripheral nervous system involvement such as tingling or numbness in the extremities or facial paralysis can occur.

The more severe, potentially debilitating symptoms of later-stage Lyme Disease may occur weeks, months, or, in a few cases, years after a tick bite. These can include severe headaches, painful arthritis and swelling of joints, cardiac abnormalities, and central nervous system involvement leading to mental disorders.


How is Lyme Disease treated?

Most Lyme disease is curable with antibiotics, particularly when the infection is diagnosed and treated early.  Later stages might require longer-term, intravenous antibiotics.


Be sure to protect yourself  and cover up this summer! For more information visit our Pinterest Lyme Disease board where we will be pinning Lyme Disease information all summer long at or tweet your questions to us @ShepardMedical.



Shepard Medical Products has been an industry leader in the field of Infection Protection for the medical and food industries since 1986. Throughout the company’s history, Shepard has enjoyed progressive, steady growth by providing the highest quality, infection control solutions to our customers.

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