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Community health panel to focus on tick-borne illnesses

Tiny ticks are a big problem in Minnesota, the state Department of Health reports.

A growing number of people across the band of northern counties of Aitkin, Beltrami, Carlton, Cass, Crow Wing and Hubbard are getting sick from diseases carried by the black-legged tick, commonly known as a deer tick.

The rise in those illnesses prompted the Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Foundation to team up with the Crow Wing County Health Division on a “Tick Mitigation Campaign.”

Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Foundation is offering two community health panels on July 16-17. Experts will discuss the diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne diseases and what people can do to reduce their risk.

Adult deer ticks are tiny — about the size of a sesame seed — and nymphs are even smaller. That’s why many people don’t realize they’ve been bitten until they have symptoms.

Prevention is key, says Dr. Peter Henry, director of Emergency Medicine at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd. He reminds people to not only do a thorough check of their bodies after being outdoors, but also carefully check their pets. Henry says a proper diagnosis and early treatment are also important.

The risk of tick-borne diseases is greatest from late spring through mid-summer, when ticks are most active. Ticks are also active again in fall.

The Community Health Panels are 5:30-7 p.m., July 16, and 8:30-10 a.m., July 17, at the Northland Arboretum, 14250 Conservation Dr.

Experts will discuss tick-borne illnesses in the Brainerd lakes area and talk about how to identify deer ticks and bites. The panel will provide tips on prevention and advice on when to seek medical treatment.

Panelists include: Dave Neitzel, Epidemiologist, Minnesota Department of Health, Dr. Peter Henry, Emergency Medicine, Essentia Health–St. Joseph’s Medical Center; Dr. Kurt DeVine, UrgentCare, Essentia Health St. Joseph’s–Baxter Clinic; Gwen Anderson, Crow Wing County public health nurse manager; and Eric Goslovich, Safety and Health Officer, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The events are free, thanks to the Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Foundation. Participants may register online at or call 828-7414.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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