What is a vector? A vector is any agent (human, insect, or microorganism) that carries and transmits a pathogen to another living organism. Many well known vectors are blood sucking insects, which acquire a pathogen during feeding, only to transfer to a new host during a subsequent meal. In Klickitat County, the local Health Department partners with Washington State Department of Health by participating in trapping and collection programs involving ticks and mosquitoes. These programs are extremely vital for monitoring trends in vector borne diseases.
One downside to warm Washington weather is the presence of new vectors, particularly Ticks. One tick in particular, Ixodes pacificus, is the focus in Washington State due to the transmission of Borrelia burgdoferi, or Lymes disease. Washington State does have a low incidence rate when compared to states in the Midwest and Northeast, but Lymes disease remains a concern.
Found a tick on you or your pet? Drop it off at the Health Department for the surveillance program. Ticks collected at the Health Department can only be identified, not tested for pathogenic diseases.