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Health Alerts

Student Health Services

Health Alerts



Ticks are part of the arachnid family, which includes spiders and scorpions.  They do not fly or jump but use their legs to attach to the skin of an animal or person to feed on blood. Most ticks go through 4 life stages: egg, six-legged larva, eight-legged nymph, and adult. After hatching from eggs, ticks must eat blood at every stage to survive.


What ticks live in New York City and what diseases do they transmit? 

Blacklegged tick
(a.) Blacklegged Tick
Lone Star Tick
(b.) Lone Star Tick


American Dog Tick

(c.) American Dog Tick


(a.) Blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks, are about the size of a poppy or sesame seed and commonly occur in the northeastern and upper midwestern United States. They can transmit a number of diseases including lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and tick paralysis. While blacklegged ticks are not widespread in NYC, some have been recently collected from Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx; Clay Pit Ponds, High Rock and Wolfe's Pond Parks in Staten Island; and Alley Pond Park, Highland Park and Floyd Bennett Field in Queens and Brooklyn. Some of the ticks from Pelham Bay and Clay Pit Ponds Parks tested positive for the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. They are abundant throughout Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties and many counties in upstate New York.
(b.) Lone star ticks are about 1/4" long and are rarely seen in New York City. They can transmit ehrlichiosis, tick paralysis, and Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness (STARI).
(c.) American dog ticks can be up to 1/2" long and are common in New York City. They transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tick paralysis.


How can I prevent tick bites?

When traveling or staying in tick habitats like tall grass, overgrown brush, etc., particularly during warmer months when ticks are more active, use the following guidelines:


  • Wear light colored clothing while entering tick habitats, as it will be easier to notice ticks on your clothing;
  • Tuck pants into socks and shirts into pants to prevent any ticks from attaching to your skin.
  • Tie hair up or wear a hat while entering a tick habitat.
  • Wear gloves while gardening because ticks generally live under the soil and in leaf litter.
  • Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. Damp clothes may need more time.
  • Hot water is recommended for washing clothes to kill ticks.  If hot water cannot be used, tumble dry on low heat for 70 minutes or high heat for 40 minutes.


  • Use insect repellant containing DEET. Repellents containing picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are also known to be effective. For more information visit the EPA website on repellents.
  • Permethrin products can be applied to clothing/boots (not to skin), actually kill ticks that come in contact with the treated clothing, and usually stay effective through several washings.
  • Use flea and tick repellents on your pet. Speak to your veterinarian for guidance on appropriate products.

Tick Checks

  • When outdoors, check for ticks on yourself, children, and pets upon returning from outdoors in tick-infested areas.
  • Look for ticks in all joint areas, the navel, behind ears, behind knees, between the legs, around the waist, in the hairline, and in other skin folds.
  • Wash all skin treated with insect repellent thoroughly.
  • Showering within two hours of coming indoors can also help wash off ticks and make finding crawling ticks easier.

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Zika Virus


Zika Travel Warning


TRAVEL ALERT: If you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant, do not travel to a Zika-affected area.

Zika is affecting parts of Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, the United States and other places listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Zika virus is spread by certain kinds of mosquitoes and through sexual contact. Zika can cause birth defects. Learn how you can prevent Zika from spreading in Basic Facts.

  • People usually get Zika through a mosquito bite—but only certain kinds of mosquitoes (Aedes mosquitoes) can spread Zika.
  • Zika can also be spread through sexual contact and blood contact (i.e. blood transfusions, sharing injection equipment, etc.). Zika is not spread by casual contact.
  • Most people (80%) who get infected with Zika do not get sick. For those who do get sick, the sickness is usually mild.
  • Since Zika causes birth defects, there is special guidance related to pregnancy. See below.
  • There is no Zika vaccine and no medicine that treats Zika.


Zika Campaign Resources

The citywide campaign Travel Warning: Zika is Still a Risk reminds New Yorkers that the Zika virus continues to circulate in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and parts Florida.

Fight Back NYC and Practice Safe Sex were citywide campaigns to inform New Yorkers on how they can reduce and prevent mosquito bites.



For more information please visit:





Ebola Facts


For more infomation, please visit




For more information on these and other health topics please visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at


CUNY Protocol on Infectious Disease Notification

From time to time, CUNY students or employees may contract an infectious disease that can be spread through casual contact. In such circumstances, which could impact the health and safety of the CUNY community, students and employees should notify Student Health Services. For further information about the Protocol on Infectious Disease Notification, please contact CUNY Central to request that it be sent to you.