“Our quest to mitigate the growing number of Staten Islanders suffering from Lyme disease is being fought on many fronts, and educating the public about the disease and how it is spread is a vital step. We will continue to raise awareness on this topic because it is real and it is affecting Staten Islanders,” said Borough President Oddo.
At the forum, researchers from NYC DOHMH presented an update on their surveillance measures with statistical updates on the incidence of Lyme disease cases in New York City and on Staten Island as well as information on the black-legged ticks that are vectors for the disease. Borough President Oddo was pleased to hear their tick surveillance has been increased from 14 to 24 sites in parks across our borough and that they will be implementing Met52 in their tick control measures, a fungus based approach that kills ticks without hurting any other invertebrates.
Maria Diuk-Wasser, Associate Professor and Researcher at Columbia University, presented information on how exactly ticks get around and where people are exposed to ticks. Can you guess how ticks ‘move’ around parks in New York City? That’s right – deer. Deer are where ticks meet and reproduce. She stressed that connectivity is key, as only parks close to other parks in NYC have ticks. Parks surrounded by vegetation and are more connected to others by habitat corridors have more ticks infected with the Lyme bacteria. We continue fight for ways to control the deer population to also reduce the tick numbers and Lyme cases on Staten Island.
Attendees also heard from Dr. Christopher J. Pappas, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Manhattanville College, who talked about what attracts the different types of ticks we have on Staten Island, how to avoid them and prevent tick bites, as well as do’s and don’ts on tick removal. Among many tips, one that stuck out: make sure to put clothes in the dryer, not the washer to kill ticks. Drying ticks out kills the ticks.
Dr. Ernest Visconti, pediatric infectious disease specialist, moderated a question and answer period with the audience following the pretensions.
Gaynor McCown Expeditionary Learning School tabled at the event showing their school projects to educate Staten Islanders on how to protect themselves from ticks and Lyme disease.
Here is the link to the PowerPoint presentations from the forum: http://www.statenislandusa.com/lymeforumslides.