West Nile Virus Notice

At camp, we do not have alligators, tigers, giraffes, or camels, but we do have a breed of tick called the Western Black-Legged Tick (a relative to the deer tick found on the East coast). This tick is smaller than the common tick and, when infected, is the carrier of Lyme Disease that can be transmitted to humans. Lyme Disease has been reported in almost all states and has been found in the Bay Area.

The Western Black-Legged Tick is very small, sometimes only as big as a moving freckle. Not all of these ticks are infected with Lyme Disease. The only way Lyme Disease is transmitted is by an infected tick bite. Every precaution is taken at camp by the camp staff regarding the health and safety of campers. We also encourage parents to check their children for ticks every day when they come home from camp.

  • Early symptoms of Lyme Disease may include:
    • A reddish rash near the area bitten, which may develop a whitish center like a bull’s -eye. The reddish area may expand in size and become quite large, though
      generally it is about the size of a half-dollar.
    • General flu-like symptoms.
  • Advanced symptoms of Lyme Disease may include:
    • Fever, chills, headache, stiff neck, nausea, fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes.
    • Migratory pain in or around joints, tendons, muscles, bones.

If you find a tick on your camper or suspect that your camper has been bitten, please contact your physician. The disease may be confirmed by a blood test. Prompt treatment with antibiotics can prevent the progression of Lyme Disease. Primary symptoms can occur within 3 to 30 days after the bite of an infected tick, with average appearance of symptoms being about a week. Because of this time factor, we feel it is important for you to have this information. Your doctor should be made aware that your camper has been in an area where Lyme Disease has been reported if she should show any of the above symptoms in the next few months.

Prevention is best. To help avoid ticks:

  • Wear light-colored clothing.
  • Wear long pants and long sleeves.
  • Tuck your shirt into your pant waist.
  • Tuck your pant legs into your socks.
  • Spray your pant legs with repellent labeled for ticks.

If you find a tick, remove it:

  • Grasp the tick with tweezers as close as possible to the skin. Try not to squash the tick.
  • Slowly pull straight out. Do NOT twist or try to unscrew.
  • Do NOT burn or apply kerosene or other chemicals.
  • DO apply antiseptic to the bite area.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.

Place the tick in a small vial or zip-type, plastic baggie, along with a damp paper towel or cotton ball, for identification by Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control entomologists.  Telephone number is (925) 771-6196. If the tick is still alive after removal, you can have it tested FREE of charge. Dead ticks can still be tested, but there will be a fee (currently at least $50.00).

If you have any questions about your camper and Lyme Disease, please feel free to call the Council Program Department at 1-800-447-4475 or call your Day Camp director.