Saturday, February 04, 2012

Should Cape Visitors Worry about Lyme Disease?

Above, tick habitat. It’s interesting to read Internet searches that bring readers to this blog. In December, I noted the following search: “Visiting Cape Cod December. Deer ticks?” Should visitors to the Outer Cape worry about deer ticks? In one word, yes.

This winter has been so mild that ticks will be a definite menace in 2012. Last summer I noted fewer ticks, perhaps due to the three inches of ice that coated the countryside in January. Ticks are not supposed to be affected by winter weather, but the fact remains that I did see a difference.

Yesterday NPR reported on tick habitat across the USA. The Outer Cape has lots of ticks. Not as many as Nantucket, or the Vineyard. Still, best to be wary.

There’s a bill, filed by Rep. Jennifer Benson, to establish a Lyme Disease research center at the UMASS Medical School at Worcester. (To support Bill H.0349, write to the Joint Committee on Higher Education. Rep. Tom Sannicandro and Senator Michael O. Moore are Co-Chairs. Please shoot them short emails on this important matter.)

Yesterday legislative aide Jocelyn Cary, in Rep. Peake’s office, gave me an update. The bill is still in committee. Jocelyn reported the possibility that it might not go anywhere, due to progress on the Commission on Lyme Disease proposed by Governor Patrick. Members are still being approved. Seven remain to be appointed.

Personally, I do not understand why we cannot have both.

Having had Lyme Disease in the past, I am especially careful and warn guests to do regular tick checks. I have covered organic bug sprays in earlier posts. What also works as protection is to move around outside, rather than staying in one spot. So far, this technique has kept ticks off me ...

Do you worry about deer ticks? Have you had Lyme Disease? Do you consider the word "epidemic" to be appropriate?