For Immediate Release
June 2, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Stockton 6th Grader Wins Prize in National 'Fight the Bite' Poster Contest

Richard Schleicher, 12, of Stockton has won the sixth-grade grand prize in the National ‘Fight the Bite’ poster contest. Richard attends Stockton Grade School, which has another sixth-grade winner in this year’s contest.  Anna Hahn, 12, won the state award.  Richard received a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond and certificate.

Started in 2007, the contest invites fifth- and sixth-grade students to create posters that encourage children and adults to protect against mosquito and tick bites and the diseases they can cause.

“Wearing repellent containing DEET is an effective means for protecting oneself against mosquito and tick bites,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, State Health Officer and Director of the Division of Health at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). “Always follow the label directions, and check yourself for ticks at least every eight hours when spending time outdoors.”

Eberhart-Phillips added that if you find a tick on your body, the proper way to remove it is to grasp the tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and slowly pull it straight out. “Don’t crush or puncture the tick, and try to avoid touching it with your bare hands. Disinfect the bite area and wash your hands immediately after removal,” he stated.

 “The Fight the Bite contest provides an opportunity to educate our kids with information that is important to all of us,” said Barbara Henson, who is Richard’s and Anna’s art teacher. “I don’t generally make poster contests a classroom assignment but will on occasion when I feel the knowledge gained through the experience is worthwhile for the students.”

This year, 28 students in 17 states have won awards in the “Fight the Bite” poster contest, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the DEET Education Program.  All 28 state winners – 14 each in fifth grade and sixth – received a $50 savings bond and certificate.  The contest sponsors are sharing the images nationally with public health educators and school nurses to consider including in educational materials.

Consumers can find information about diseases from mosquito and tick bites, repellent use and other prevention strategies such as limiting standing water to reduce mosquitoes and landscape modification to discourage ticks at websites such as www.kdheks.gov/westnile/, www.cdc.gov/westnile and www.cdc.gov/lyme.  

For more information about the national ‘Fight the Bite’ poster contest, visit www.fightthebitecontest.org.

Note to reporters – A PDF file containing an image of Richard Schleicher’s winning artwork can be downloaded from www.fightthebitecontest.org/2009Winners/pdfs/National/SCHLEICHER_RICARD.pdf.