The Arkansas Health Department is reminding residents that tick season is starting and people should be mindful that the insects can carry diseases.
The agency said Wednesday that more than 900 cases of tick-borne diseases were reported in 2012 and that many more went unreported. Five people died as a result.
Officials say four diseases are most commonly spread by ticks - anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia. Some of the infections can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system if left untreated.
Ticks should be removed promptly, which can sometimes prevent disease transmission. Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which is caused by bacteria, is the most common tick-borne disease in Arkansas. Most transmissions occur between June and August.