byDave Henderson, Ithaca journal, link to original post
According to the Center for Disease Control, New York has long been the national capital of Lyme disease. But for many years the only cases diagnosed locally came when a pet was infected elsewhere and traveled here.
Judging by the reaction I received from recently published warnings of above-average infestations of disease-bearing ticks this year, most folks still think Lyme disease is not a local problem. They are definitely mistaken.
There have been, over the last five years or so, an increasing number of cases where Lyme disease was diagnosed locally and determined to have been contacted locally. Yup, right here in River (or Lake) City.
An informal group of local veterinarians have been tracking the disease and warning patients and anyone else who’ll listen. The data is not formally quantified because there is currently no full-proof diagnostic tool for Lyme and not everyone locally tests regularly for it, anyhow.
But the aforementioned group of concerned doctors does test regularly. Doctor William Wilhelm, who lives in Tioga County and runs the Endicott Animal Hospital in Broome County, says the group has found alarming numbers of positive cases – as high as 10 percent of dogs tested proved to be positive in some offices.
The word should be out. This is the prime season for tick infestation and its subsequent infections. Check yourself and your pets and have your vet check them regularly.
Ticks are most active at this time of year because they are in their nymph stage and their small size allows them to hook on and feed unnoticed for a longer period of time.
The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance suggests wearing a hat, long sleeves and avoiding shorts and tucking shirt tails into pants and pant legs into boots when spending time outdoors to reduce the amount of skin exposed to ticks. Ticks are easier to spot on light-colored clothing.
It also suggests treating clothing with Permethrin, an insecticide that repels and kills ticks. An EPA-approved insect repellent should be applied to exposed skin, and stay in the center of woodland trails while avoiding deer paths altogether.
Again, check for ticks on you and/or your pets as soon as you get indoors and don’t delay showering. Bathing as soon as possible will help remove unattached ticks.
Remove your clothes and put them in the dryer at high heat for about 30 minutes to kill any ticks.