Shelter Island will have a seat at the table when Suffolk County talks ticks.
Supervisor Jim Dougherty has been appointed to the county’s Tick Control Advisory Committee. Not only will he speak for Shelter Island, but for all neighboring municipalities in his role as chairman of the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association.
The 12-member committee is charged to “develop and include within the annual vector control plan, a section dedicated to reducing the incidence of tick-borne illness in Suffolk County.”
A vector is any agent that transmits an infectious disease into another living creature.
Before legislation introduced by Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) to create the new committee, the county focused mainly on mosquito-borne illnesses, such as West Nile virus. But an individual is 300 times more likely to contract Lyme disease than West Nile virus, according to a press release from Mr. Schneiderman’s office.
Lyme disease is now the most widespread vector-borne disease in the U.S., even though cases are often under-reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The committee will meet monthly until a plan is ready to be adopted as part of a larger strategy to reduce ticks that carry diseases.