(Republished from the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Health Care Newsroom.)

The CDC recently issued a report on the rising rates of tick and mosquito borne illnesses across the United States. In an interview with CNN, Myron Cohen, MD, spoke about the importance of the advisory and increasing public awareness. David Weber, MD, MPH, spoke with the New York Times about how to protect yourself from mosquitoes and ticks.

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Myron Cohen, MD, Director, Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases, said Zika cases from 2016 indicate how quickly a previously-little known disease can sweep through the population.

“Zika shows us the potential for an emerging pathogen that’s vector-borne to enter a population — like as it did in Puerto Rico and some of the other territories and a little bit in Florida — and kind of sweep through the population,” Cohen said. “So it shows how vulnerable we are if the vectors are there in sufficient concentration, and we have not seen the disease before in the population, it can be a fairly profound epidemic,” he said. Read the full story from CNN.
In response to the CDC’s report, David Weber, MD, MPH, medical director of UNC Hospitals’ departments of epidemiology and occupational health service, spoke with the New York Times, outlining ways to protect yourself from tick and mosquito bites.

“Mind where you’re going, and avoid areas that are especially attractive to ticks, like tall grassy fields,” said Weber. “Ticks don’t fly and they don’t jump.They live on grasses, and when a human goes by, they leave the grass and attach themselves to the human.” Read the full story from The New York Times.