Health officials say 2017 brought the highest number of cases of Lyme disease in Wisconsin to date

MILWAUKEE -- Illnesses from mosquito, tick and flea bites more than tripled in the United States from 2004 to 2016 according to the Centers for Disease Control, and officials with Wisconsin's Department of Health Services said there were more than 4,000 cases of Lyme disease in the state last year -- the highest number reported to date.

That's why officials are offering tips to help prevent tick and mosquito bites while still enjoying the outdoors this spring and summer.

DHS officials said in a news release Monday, May 7 there were 4,299 cases of Lyme disease in Wisconsin in 2017, and Wisconsin is among the top 20 percent of states reporting cases of tick-borne diseases in the country, according to a report from the CDC.

In addition, there were 51 human cases of West Nile virus reported in 2017, the highest number in Wisconsin since 2012.

Certain dead birds can be an indication of West Nile virus in an area. DHS officials encourage anyone who finds a sick or dead bird to call the dead bird reporting hotline at 800-433-1610.

Meanwhile, here are some things you can do to protect yourself from illnesses spread by mosquitoes and ticks: