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April 24, 2020 - 12:55pm

From the Genesee & Orleans County Health Departmenta:

Deer ticks live in shady, moist areas at ground level. They will cling to tall grass, brush and shrubs, usually no more than 18-24 inches off the ground. They also live in lawns and gardens, especially at the edges of woods and around old stone walls.

Deer ticks cannot jump or fly, and do not drop onto passing people or animals. They get on humans and animals only by direct contact. Once a tick gets on the skin, it generally climbs upward until it reaches a protected area.

“It’s important for you and your family to learn how to prevent a bite, how to remove a tick, and what to do if you think you could have a tick-borne disease,” said Sarah Balduf, Environmental director for the Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments.

In tick-infested areas, your best protection is to avoid contact with soil, leaf litter and vegetation.

“As we continue to balance the implications of COVID-19 and working to enjoy outdoor activities, remember to follow Governor Cuomo’s 10-point New York State on PAUSE Plan, including that individuals should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities where they come in close contact with other people,” said Paul Pettit, director for the Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments.

For more information about the New York State on PAUSE Plan click here.

However, if you garden, hike, camp, hunt, work, or otherwise spend time in the outdoors and maintain appropriate social distancing, you can still protect yourself:

  • Wear light-colored clothing with a tight weave to spot ticks easily.
  • Wear enclosed shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants.
  • Check clothes and any exposed skin frequently for ticks while outdoors.
  • Consider using insect repellent.
  • Stay on cleared, well-traveled trails. Walk in the center of trails. Avoid dense woods and bushy areas.
  • Avoid sitting directly on the ground or on stone walls.
  • Keep long hair tied back, especially when gardening.
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after going indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that may be on you.
  • Do a final, full-body tick check at the end of the day (also check children and pets), and remove ticks promptly.

What About Insect Repellent?

Consider using insect repellents registered with the Environmental Protection Agency:

  • DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) can be applied to exposed skin. Products that contain 20 percent or more DEET can provide protection that lasts up to several hours. Use the lowest concentration of DEET that you will need for the length of time you will be outdoors.
  • Picaridin is a colorless, nearly odorless ingredient that can be applied to exposed skin in a range of 5 to 20 percent of the active ingredient.
  • Permethrin: Clothes, shoes and camping gear can be treated or purchased pretreated with permethrin. Its protection can last through many washes.Neverapply permethrin to skin. The New York State Health Department recommends taking these precautions when using repellents that contain these active ingredients:
  • Store out of the reach of children and read all instructions on the label before applying.
  • Do NOT allow children to apply repellents themselves.

What Can I Do To Reduce Ticks In My Yard?

  • Keep lawns mowed and edges trimmed.
  • Clear brush, leaf litter and tall grass around the house, and at the edges of gardens and stone walls.
  • Stack woodpiles neatly away from the house and preferably off the ground.
  • In the fall, clear all leaf and garden litter, where ticks can live in the winter, out of your yard.
  • Keep the ground under bird feeders clean so as not to attract small animals that can carry ticks into your yard.
  • Locate children’s swing sets and other play equipment in sunny, dry areas of the yard, away from the woods where ticks can be abundant. For more information on Lyme disease, contact your local health department or refer to the NYS Department of Health website.

Also Consider These Important Facts:

  • If you tuck pants into socks and shirts into pants, be aware that ticks will climb upward to hidden areas of the head and neck, so spot-check clothes frequently.
  • Clothes can be sprayed with DEET or treated with permethrin. Follow label instructions carefully.
  • Upon returning home, clothes can be put in a high temperature dryer for 20 minutes to kill any unseen ticks.
  • Any contact with vegetation, even playing in the yard, can result in exposure to ticks. Frequent tick checks should be followed by a whole-body examination and tick removal each night. This is the single most effective method for prevention of Lyme disease.

How Can I Safely Remove a Tick?

If you DO find a tick attached to your skin, do not panic. Not all ticks are infected, and your risk of Lyme disease is greatly reduced if the tick is removed within the first 36 hours. To remove a tick:

  • Use a pair of pointed tweezers to grasp the tick by the head or mouth parts right where they enter the skin. DO NOT grasp the tick by the body.
  • Pull firmly and steadily outward. DO NOT jerk or twist the tick.
  • Place the tick in a small container of rubbing alcohol to kill it.
  • Clean the bite wound with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Monitor the site of the bite for the next 30 days for the appearance of a rash. If you develop a rash or flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately. Although not routinely recommended, taking antibiotics within three days after a tick bite may be beneficial for some persons. This would apply to deer tick bites that occurred in areas where Lyme disease is common and there is evidence that the tick fed for more than one day. In cases like this you should discuss the possibilities with your doctor or health care provider.

For information on Health Department services in Genesee County contact:

  • Genesee County Health Department at: 344-2580, ext. 5555, or visit their website.
December 21, 2019 - 1:38pm

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced Thursday, following their tireless advocacy, $14 million in federal funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to combat Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases and the Kay Hagan Tick Act were included in the final, soon-to-pass bipartisan spending package for Fiscal Year 2020.

The $14 million in funding amounts to a $2 million increase over last year’s level. Last year, a Schumer-backed amendment in the must-pass Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations bill secured the first increase in CDC Lyme disease funding in five years.

The bipartisan Kay Hagan Tick Act, named in honor of the late Senator Kay Hagan who recently passed away due to complications from Powassan virus, a rare tick-borne disease, is cosponsored by both Schumer and Gillibrand and complements the CDC funding.

The senators explained that since New York remains the #1 target for tick-related disease in the United States, they went back to the mat to secure additional funding for the critical CDC program this year and fight for adoption of the Kay Hagan Tick Act.

“Upstate New York has been feeling the brutal bite of Lyme disease and tick-borne diseases for years now, and thankfully this sorely needed increase in CDC funding and the Kay Hagan Tick Act, combined, will give us the resources we need to strike back,” said Senator Schumer. “New Yorkers and their children shouldn’t have to worry that spending time outside in their backyards will leave them with a debilitating ailment like Lyme disease, and this funding will help prevent that.

"I was proud to lead the charge in securing the crucial funding and imperative legislation to combat the spread of tick-borne diseases throughout New York and will keep fighting until we can stamp out these persistent diseases.”

“I am very pleased that Congress has included in the year-end budget package funding for Lyme disease and tick-borne illness research, surveillance, prevention, and outbreak response,” said Senator Gillibrand. “New Yorkers have felt the impact of tick-borne illness for years, we need to step up our efforts to protect our communities.

"It is particularly meaningful this year, as we lost my dear friend and colleague, former-Senator Kay Hagan to tick-borne illness just a couple of months ago. I am hopeful that with this funding we will be able to prevent other Americans from suffering from the often-devastating and life-altering impacts of tick-borne illness.”

Schumer and Gillibrand said that the increase in funding for the CDC will specifically be used to target vector-borne pathogens which cause diseases in humans.

The funding will contribute to a better understanding of when, where, and how people become exposed to vector-borne pathogens, as well as boost prevention efforts related to vector-borne pathogens and mitigate potential consequences of infection.

Additionally, the funding will be used to help implement vector-borne disease diagnostics, surveillance, control, and prevention programs.

The Kay Hagan Tick Act requires HHS to develop a national strategy for vector-borne diseases, including tick-borne diseases, in an effort to coordinate efforts among various government agencies.

The bill also reauthorizes the Regional Centers of Excellence in Vector-Borne Disease for five years at $10 million per year.

Schumer and Gillibrand noted that this is especially important for New York State, as Cornell University is home to the Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases.

Lastly, the Kay Hagan Tick Act will allow the CDC to make grants to state, local, and tribal health departments in order to improve the ability to identify, report, prevent, and respond to vector-borne diseases and related outbreaks. 

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection carried by deer ticks, which can be transmitted through a bite to a human or animal. If left untreated, the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi travels through the bloodstream, manifests itself in body tissues, and causes mild or severe symptoms, depending on the case.

Lyme disease begins as a rash at the location of the tick bite and then spreads to the nervous system and joints. Early diagnosis and antibiotic treatment are crucial to recovery, and appropriate antibiotic use in the early stages of Lyme disease typically results in a swift recovery. Untreated and undiagnosed Lyme disease can lead to debilitating effects on a person’s health.

Senator Schumer and Gillibrand have long fought for federal funding for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease, which have contributed to a major spike in cases across New York State.

Last year, Schumer fought to secure more than a 12-percent increase in CDC Lyme disease funding, for a total of $12 million, which was the first increase of its kind in five years.

In 2018, during an in-person meeting with CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, Schumer received a firm commitment from the director that he would be working to address Lyme disease in New York State.

Schumer and Gillibrand also helped secure a $2 billion increase in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding last year, which can be used to expand and build upon existing NIH-funded Lyme disease research that is already occurring at New York institutions, such as Stony Brook, Columbia University, in the SUNY system, and at Hunter College.

Schumer has traveled throughout New York State advocating for increased funding to fight tick-borne diseases and will continue to advocate for these funds for New Yorkers.

January 4, 2019 - 4:20pm

Press release:

Cornell Cooperative extensions of Chautauqua and Erie counties are leading a regional initiative to increase awareness of tick-borne diseases and tick management in the Western New York Region. There will be several opportunities to participate in the WNY Tick Awareness Forum.

Lyme disease and several other devastating tick-borne diseases are on the rise in New York due to an increase in the prevalence of ticks and human and tick encounters.

Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature have deemed Lyme and other tick-borne diseases a public health priority and are working to raise awareness about ticks, tick avoidance and management.

Please consider joining us at either of our regional forums, featuring a presentation from Lynn Braband of NYSIPM, health department officials, and a panel of community leaders.

There are multiple ways to participate. The two main live events will be held in Erie County and Chautauqua County. There will also be satellite locations viewing the event via a live stream in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. Register for the live events online by visiting www.cce.cornell.edu/chautauqua. Contact the local Cooperative Extension office to register for the live stream event.

The fee to participate in a live stream event is $5/person.

Event details are as follows:

Genesee County: Satellite viewing on Jan. 24, 4 – 6 p.m., at CCE Genesee, 420 E. Main St., Batavia. Contact Jan Beglinger at 585-343-3040, ext. 132, or [email protected]. Register by Jan. 17 to get a tick removal kit.

Erie County: Live event on Jan. 24, 4 – 6 p.m., at West Seneca Community Center, 1300 Union Road, West Seneca. Contact Sharon Bachman, CCE Erie County, at [email protected] or 716-652-5400, ext.150. Register by Jan. 17 to get a tick removal kit.

Wyoming County: Satellite viewing on Jan. 24, 4 – 6 p.m. at the Wyoming County Agriculture and Business Center, 36 Center St., Warsaw. Contact Don Gasiewicz at 585 786 2251 [email protected]. Register by Jan. 17 to get a tick removal kit.

Chautauqua County: Live event on Feb. 16, 1 – 3 p.m., at the Frank W Bratt Agricultural Center, 3542 Turner Road, Jamestown. Contact Katelyn Walley-Stoll, CCE-Chautauqua County, at [email protected] or 716-664-9502, ext. 202. Register by Feb. 8 to get a tick removal kit.

Orleans County: Satellite viewing on Feb. 16, 1 – 3 p.m., at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orleans County (Trolley Building), 12690 State Route 31, Albion. Contact Katie Oakes at 585-798-4265 or [email protected]. Register by Feb. 8 to get a tick removal kit.

Attendees who register for one of these events, at least one week in advance, will receive a FREE tick removal kit. There will also be an opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session.

This event is brought to you by the New York State IPM Program and Cornell Cooperative extensions of Chautauqua, Erie, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming and Cattaraugus counties.

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