Bug bites can carry disease, and the rate of infection has tripled. Here’s how to protect yourself

From Take Two
May 8, 2018

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had some scary news in a report released last week. Cases of illnesses spread by mosquitoes and ticks, like West Nile, Zika virus and Lyme disease tripled in the U.S. between 2004 and 2016. 

It’s a striking increase. Those are nationwide numbers, though, so we wondered just how worried we should be about those nasty little bugs here in Southern California.


West Nile virus is a year-round concern, said Kelly Middleton from the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. The area sees hundreds of cases every year.

There’s a new concern for the area, though — invasive mosquito species that can carry diseases including Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses, Middleton said. 

Summer is the time when mosquitoes become a greater concern in Southern California. Higher temperatures after rain are perfect conditions to see an uptick in these bugs, Middleton said. And she did have a few tips for locals who want to avoid getting bitten or getting sick.

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