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Learn About Ticks, Lyme Disease Tomorrow

Learn about ticks, Lyme Disease.
Learn about ticks, Lyme Disease.  Download PDF 
Meeting regularly since fall 2012, and comprised of Board of Health representatives from Acton, Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lincoln, Wayland, Weston and Westford, the Middlesex Tick Task Force (MTTF) aims to increase residents’ awareness of tick-borne diseases in the community.

In Lincoln, on April 30, Dr. Alfred DeMaria, MDPH State Epidemiologist, will be speaking about Lyme Disease, at 7 p.m. at the Lincoln School Auditorium on Ballfield Road in Lincoln. 

As part of its ongoing, educational campaign, the taskforce has created a 10-15 minute, online survey that is designed to test your knowledge about ticks and tick-borne diseases, as well as inform you about these important health-related subjects.  As an educational tool, you’ll find answers to questions in the survey that will enable you to “test your knowledge” about: types of repellents to use to deter ticks, where ticks are commonly found, ways to landscape your property to minimize tick habitats, what various ticks look like and which life state of ticks present the highest risk of infection, how to identify the common symptoms of tick-borne diseases, as well as preventative measures to protect your pets, and more. Want to learn more?  

Go to the our survey page (click here) and complete the “Tick-Borne Illness Residents’ Survey” today. Deadline for survey submission is June 30.

Your survey responses are vital in helping your local board of health to tailor its informational materials and future educational programs towards your specific needs around the subjects of ticks and tick-borne diseases.

Your health department wants you to know that primarily “tick risks” are from mid-May through mid-July when the smaller nymph stage of the deer tick is feeding. Risk is present, but lower, in early spring and again in the fall (late September-October) when the adult state of the deer tick is active. Moreover, the risk of getting a tick-borne disease is small if the tick is removed soon after it becomes attached.  And importantly, deer ticks must remain attached one to two days to transmit Lyme disease, and about one day for the other diseases.

The Health Department reports that the incidence of Lyme Disease remains high, and incidences of other tick borne diseases such as Babesiosis are on the rise.  The combination of more than one tick borne illness causes more severe symptoms and a longer duration of illness. Residents should be aware of unusually severe symptoms such as fever, chills, and extreme fatigue during the warmer months and seek medical care.

Published results of the “Tick-Borne Illness Residents’ Survey” will be made available this summer  on MTTF member town web sites, as well as key findings.  
In the meantime: Remember tick borne diseases are preventable. Watch for early signs and symptoms of tick-related illness and be sure to report to your doctors if you have cause for concern. Untreated, these diseases can cause a number of health problems, but prevention methods have proven to be effective. 

Sent out by Sandy Collins, R.N. ,Health Director, Director Upper Merrimack Valley MRC, Westford Health Department.

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