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07/11/18 8:00am
REPORTER FILE PHOTO Dragging for ticks at Mashomack.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Dragging for ticks at Mashomack.

While most of us go outside and take precautions to avoid ticks, Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Suffolk County employee Tamson Yeh does the opposite. (more…)

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08/01/14 10:00am
CYNDI MURRAY |

CYNDI MURRAY | Suffolk County Tick Committee members meeting in Riverhead on Thursday

Suffolk County’s newly formed tick advisory committee was thrown a curveball after its first meeting Wednesday when members learned they might only have a month and half to continue their work. (more…)

10/02/13 2:23pm

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA | New legislation focusing on tick-borne illnesses will be put to a vote by the Suffolk County Legislature next week.

A proposed law introduced recently by Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) to aggressively address tick-borne illnesses was unanimously approved by the Legislature’s Public Works and Transportation Committee yesterday.

The bill will go to the full Legislature for a vote next Tuesday at its meeting in Riverhead.

The proposed law would require the Suffolk County Vector Control to submit an annual plan that indicates steps being taken to reduce the incidence of tick-borne illnesses — including work to be done, active measures being taken and an analysis to determine the effectiveness of the program.

The Vector Control has focused mainly on mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile.

“It is important that you voice your concerns about the importance of the legislation directing the county to draw up plans to fight the Lyme Disease epidemic plaguing Suffolk County to the Legislature and speak in support of the new plan,” Legislator Schneiderman said in a statement.

09/24/13 8:00am

COURTESY PHOTO | A worker testing for ticks in an open field last spring. Tests in June showed a spike in the tick population of 200 percent at Mashomack in one year.

In an effort to combat tick-borne illnesses, Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) has introduced new legislation to step up pressure on Suffolk County Vector Control, which is in charge of controlling the spread of insect-borne diseases.

The proposed law would require Vector Control to submit an annual plan that indicates steps being taken to reduce the incidence of tick-borne illnesses — including work to be done, active measures being taken and an analysis to determine the effectiveness of the program.

The division has focused mainly on mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile.

Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty has repeatedly said the county should get involved since tick borne illnesses are a more serious public health crisis than mosquito borne illnesses.

Area hospitals reported a spike in tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease earlier this year. Nearly 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported nationally each year, while 1,000 cases of West Nile are reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lyme disease is now the most widespread tick-borne disease in the U.S., but cases are often under reported across the U.S., according to the CDC.

It is estimated only 10 percent of total cases nationally are reported, CDC officials said.

“Towns and villages are struggling to develop plans to respond to the growing Lyme disease cases,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “The county should be playing a leadership role in prevention.”

Because of redistricting, Mr. Schneiderman faces off this November against Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi, running on the Republican ticket, to represent Shelter Island in the county Legislature. According to Mr. Nuzzi, his opponent’s action is a case of better late than never.

“After [Mr. Schneiderman’s] 10 years in office, I’d say the idea was a good one,” Mr. Nuzzi said. “This should have been done a lot sooner. It makes sense from a regional perspective.”

Mr. Nuzzi and Mr. Schneiderman will square off for a debate October 12 at the library sponsored by the Reporter, The League of Women Voters and The Shelter Island Association.

County Legislator Al Krupski, a co-sponsor of the bill, called Lyme disease an epidemic on the East End.

“Most of us have been impacted in some way by tick-borne disease,” he said in a release. “Suffolk County needs to play an active role to control this growing health problem.”

Mr. Schneiderman said the county has, however, done a good job preventing West Nile.

While mosquito and bird samples have tested positive for the virus, no humans have tested positive for West Nile so far this year, according to the county health department officials.