Additionally, 30 percent of black-legged ticks collected within the past year at select parks in New York City, including Staten Island’s Clay Pit Ponds and High Rock Parks, tested positive for the Lyme bacterium. The Borough President and the Health Department recently launched a social media campaign to educate Staten Islanders about tickborne diseases.
“These data confirm what we have suspected for some time – that due to the increase in white-tailed deer on Staten Island, the incidence rate of Lyme disease – carried by black-legged ticks - is also rising,” said BP Oddo. “Over half of Staten Island patients with early Lyme disease interviewed in 2015 reported no travel outside of New York City – the most compelling evidence yet that Lyme disease-spreading ticks are in our local area.”
“We want Staten Islanders to take advantage of their beautiful parks and wooded areas, but we remind them and all New Yorkers to check for ticks and take other simple steps to protect yourself from Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “We continue to work closely with Borough President Oddo to increase public awareness about Lyme disease, and the Administration has begun an extensive effort to reduce the deer population on Staten Island.”
BP Oddo and the Health Department will co-sponsor a free Lyme Disease Awareness Forum on Monday, August 15th from 7-8:30pm at the Bernikow JCC (1466 Manor Road). At this forum, physicians and scientists will present important information about Lyme disease and the black-legged ticks that are vectors for the disease. Health Department staff will also provide information on the incidence of Lyme disease cases in New York City and will answer questions pertaining to tick precautions and removal. The New York City Parks’ Urban Park Rangers will host an education station, with specimens and informative materials. The Staten Island Museum will also present a natural sciences exhibit.
Topics discussed at the event will include basic facts about Lyme disease, symptoms and health impacts, public safety tips, precautions when exploring natural areas and how to safely remove ticks. The public forum follows a month-long public awareness campaign on social media launched by the Health Department and BP Oddo at the start of the summer, and complements outreach events conducted by the Department aimed at children in camps, including one at the Staten Island Zoo, libraries, pools and other venues.
To RSVP for the public forum on August 15, call Renee Sarno at 718-816-2133 or email RSarno@statenislandusa.com.