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Preventing tick- and mosquito-borne diseases is focus of State Fair booth

Minnesotans' least favorite outdoor companions - ticks and mosquitoes - will be the featured "guests" at this year's Minnesota Department of Health exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair. The MDH booth in the Education Building will offer information on how to prevent a number of potentially serious diseases caused by bites from ticks and mosquitoes.

MDH chose to make ticks and mosquitoes the featured topic for the 2013 fair booth because each year hundreds of Minnesotans suffer from diseases that ticks and mosquitoes transmit, yet there are simple steps anyone can take to protect themselves and their family members.

"We want Minnesotans to understand when and where disease-carrying ticks and mosquitoes are most likely to be encountered, so they can possibly avoid them altogether," said David Neitzel, an MDH epidemiologist specializing in tick- and mosquito-borne diseases. "Repellents and other measures can prevent tick and mosquito bites and protect your family from potentially serious diseases."

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger will be at the booth on two different days this year to meet and greet visitors and talk with them about their health interests. He will be at the booth from 3-4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22 and from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29.

The MDH booth will offer information on a variety of topics including tobacco prevention, oral health, health occupations, newborn screening, STD/HIV, foodborne illness, fish consumption, healthy communities, the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) and many other topics.

Once again the MDH booth will feature the "Wheel of Health" game. Participants spin a wheel, answer a health related question, and receive a pencil with a tick and mosquito prevention message. Finally, the MDH booth also will offer free anti-smoking posters and brochures and promotional items on a variety of health topics.

The Education Building is located just north of Dan Patch Avenue on Cosgrove Street.