Mosquito Control took to the air for the first time this spring, but it's still too early to tell if the outlook for the summer will be worse than years past.
"Last year, we had a bump up in the number of West Nile cases, and that had a lot to do with how long the season was," explained Mike McLean, with the Metro Mosquito Control. "It's a little too early to say if we've dodged that bullet, but it is encouraging when the season starts later. It means a shorter season and maybe a little less risk for West Nile virus."
Although West Nile worries often emerge later in the summer, experts say the time for ticks is already upon Minnesota. Dr. Dean Tsukayama, an infectious disease specialist from HCMC, told FOX 9 News it's even more important to look out for ticks and the symptoms of Lyme disease.
"The usual kinds of symptoms are pretty nonspecific… flu like symptoms," says Dr. Tsukayama. Lyme disease can go on to cause meningitis, headaches, nervous symptom problems and can affect your hear.
Tsukayama also warned residents to move quickly in checking for ticks or investigating symptoms because e the No. 1 drug used to treat Lyme disease, Doxycycline, is currently in short supply. Prices have gone from about 4 cents a pill to $4 for each dose.
The same antibiotics are used for pets but symptoms vary.
"You might see signs of kidney failure, urinating a lot, drinking a lot, bruising where you would not expect it," said Dr. Donnell Hansen, with BluePearl Referral Medicine for Pets.
Chelsea, 4-year-old Shepard mix, suffered from Lyme disease a few years ago after being rescued from Red Lake.
"She was a little stiff in her knees and her joints. Not horrible, but enough to notice it," recalled Chelsea's owner, Amy Zimmerman.
Physicians for both pets and people say prevention is key.
- Hennepin County Medical Center: Ticks & Illness: http://www.hcmc.org/outdoors/ticks.html#.UYvu1mS9LCQ
KDFW FOX 4
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