Seasonal Health Alerts:

Learn more about the diseases to watch out for during the spring and summer months:

Montana is the home to several species of ticks that are capable of transmitting a variety of bacterial, viral, and parasitic illness to humans and other mammals.

The most common symptoms of tick-borne infection include:

  • fever and chills

  • aches and pains

  • rash

  • fever of varying degrees

Proper and timely removal of ticks can reduce the likelihood of a tick transmitting a tick-borne illness.

How to remove an attached tick: 

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.

  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.

  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

  • Please note that testing ticks is not recommended for several reasons. First, the laboratories that conduct tick testing are not required to have the same standards of quality as those used by clinical laboratories. Additionally, positive results for a tick does not mean that disease was transmitted. Not every bite results in disease being transmitted. Finally, if an individual has been infected, symptoms will most likely develop before the results of the tick test are available. If symptoms occur, individuals should seek medical care. For more information please visit this webpage https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/removal/index.html.

How to prevent tick bites: 

  • Use EPA registered insect repellent.

  • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.

  • Walk in the center of trails.

  • After you come indoors, check your clothing for ticks. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing.

Visit the DPHHS Website for more information about tick-borne illnesses in Montana.

Visit our rabies page to learn more about rabies control and prevention.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is a rare but often serious illness of the lungs. In Montana, the deer mouse is the reservoir for hantavirus. The virus is found in the droppings, urine, and saliva of infected mice. The most common way that a person can get HPS is from breathing in the virus when it is aerosolized (stirred up into the air). People can also become infected after touching mouse droppings or nesting materials that contain the virus and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.

How do you prevent HPS?

  • Seal up holes inside and outside the home to keep rodents out.

  • Trap rodents around the home using snap traps to reduce the population.

  • Take precautions while cleaning rodent-infested areas

    • Wear rubber or plastic gloves

    • Thoroughly spray/soak area with a disinfectant or mixture of bleach and water to reduce dust

    • Wipe/mop the area with a sponge or paper towel

    • Wash hands thoroughly

    • Avoid sweeping or vacuuming up areas with rodent droppings