COLUMBUS, Ohio – Mosquito and tick season has officially begun in Ohio, and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) urges people to “fight the bite” and take precautions to prevent bites from mosquitoes and ticks which can carry diseases such as West Nile virus, Zika virus and Lyme disease.

In Ohio, ticks are most active April through September and mosquitoes May through October.

As far as mosquitos go, Ohio has a type of mosquito that can transmit West Nile virus, and 17 cases were reported in the state last year.

While the primary Zika-carrying mosquito is not known to be in Ohio, a “cousin” of the mosquito is found in parts of Ohio and may potentially transmit the virus.

Ohio had 95 travel-associated Zika cases last year in returning travelers from Zika-affected areas, and three travel-associated cases so far in 2017.

The types of ticks found in Ohio can transmit a variety of diseases, including Lyme disease, and 160 cases were reported in the state last year.

The Ohio Department of Health’s Bureau Chief of Infectious Diseases, Sietske de Fijter, said you can take precautions at home and when traveling to prevent contracting mosquito and tick-borne diseases.

Here are some tips to avoid mosquito and tick bites and prevent disease:

• If you are outdoors when mosquitoes and ticks are most active, be sure to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, shoes and socks.
• Use EPA-registered mosquito and tick repellent and follow the label directions.
• Wear clothing and gear treated with permethrin, an insecticide (do not apply permethrin directly to skin).

Go to the ODH website at odh.ohio.gov for more information about how to prevent mosquito-borne and tick-borne diseases and other information and resources. ODH’s statewide campaign started Monday, May 8.