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Keep ticks away: Experts warn of potential risks as outdoor use increases

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Murphy, a 4-year-old Australian Shepherd, loves exploring dog runs in Smithtown’s Blydenburgh County Park.

A popular site is the fenced forest area where dogs can roam and enjoy nature with humans. However, it is mites that are hidden in the grass and dense leaves. Mites are small, hairy, unfriendly creatures that can pose a threat to dogs and humans.

Pandemic-tired Long Island people pay special attention this summer, as some experts believe that the population of ticks that carry Lyme disease and other diseases has increased in recent years. , Are asked to avoid small creatures like poppy seeds. ..

“I check him [for ticks] Commack’s David Best said last week watching Murphy happily sniffing at the dog park. “I haven’t checked myself.

What you need to know

The tick season has arrived, And health experts are calling on the people of Long Island to avoid small creatures that can transmit serious illnesses such as Lyme disease.

Some experts have a warm winter And the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the number of ticks this year.

Remove mites from your body and seek Prompt medical advice can reduce your chances of getting a serious illness.

Dr. Luis Marcos, an associate professor of medicine at Stoneybrook Medicine and an infectious disease expert, believes that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused ticks to breed. Blood-sucking insects are transmitted by animals such as deer, squirrels, and mice.

“People were trapped in their homes, allowing animals to roam more freely in the environment, resulting in higher tick populations,” said Marcos, who said that tick-borne disease increased this year. Added.

Marcos said the warm winters of his later years could also be the cause, noting that more cases were seen in February, March and April.

“Usually we meet them in May,” he said. “It’s been unusual in the last few years.”

Tick ​​activity varies from year to year and from place to place, depending on a variety of factors, including environmental, ecological factors, and available hosts.

“Also, the activity of ticks during the season is a bell-shaped curve, so the activity and the number of ticks increase or decrease,” he said.

The number of cases of tick-borne disease reported in the United States increased from just over 22,000 in 2004 to 2004. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there will be 50,000 people in 2019. In 2017, there was also a surge in tick-induced illness.

According to the CDC, 2,847 cases were confirmed in New York in 2019, second only to 6,763 in Pennsylvania.

Not all mites have the disease, but mites such as black-footed mites and deer ticks can spread Lyme disease, Babesiosis, anaplasmosis, and the Poissan virus.

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in Long Island, with approximately 700-800 cases occurring annually, Marcos said. If not treated for Lyme disease, it can cause swollen and painful joints, temporary facial paralysis, and heart problems.

However, some healthcare professionals do not immediately think of Lyme disease when a patient is hospitalized with unexplained symptoms such as fever, headache, and fatigue.

Olivia Marie, who lives in Oakdale, developed meningitis, sepsis, and Bell’s palsy in 2016 before doctors realized that she had Lyme disease.

“I had very acute symptoms. Pain, loss of appetite, and I couldn’t sleep,” Marie said.

Even though I went to the emergency room with my doctor several times, I was hardly saved and was forced to stay in the hospital for a long time. Finally, a lumbar puncture confirmed the diagnosis and I went to Stony Brook University Hospital.

“The doctor here helped me see me, start treatment and pain management, and recover faster,” she said. “I was bitten again in 2018 and 2019, but when I came here and took some medicine, it got better.”

The Suffolk County Health Services Department monitors ticks with the State Health Department in one of each of the 10 towns. — Get a glimpse of the illnesses they may carry.Nassau County does not monitor ticks..

For example, 72% of adult black feet Tick ​​collected at one location in Huntington tested positive for the pathogen that causes Lyme disease, but 33% of black-footed ticks collected at one location in Babylon were positive. In East Hampton and Smithtown, tested mites carried the pathogens of Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis, and Poissan virus.

Authorities emphasize that the results represent each collection site rather than the town.

According to experts, the best way to fight mites is to be able to avoid and identify them.

Samantha Warner of Holtzville said he felt a strong need to learn more about ticks and the diseases that ticks prevail.

“At the end of each day’s walk, go home and make sure there are no dark spots,” she said during a recent visit to Bridenberg Park. “More about dangers and common areas to find them.” It’s good to know. “

The health line was busier than ever when more than 650 people called to get information about ticks in 2020, according to Stoneybrook officials. They moved to Long Island during a pandemic. Many people were unaware of the dangers of ticks, they said.

Marcos and his colleagues in Stoneybrook’s Infectious Diseases Division are conducting research to elucidate the long-term symptoms of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.

“That’s what no one knows exactly what’s going on,” Marcos said. “Most doctors treat symptoms, but we are trying to determine the cause of those symptoms, so we can approach patients with better treatments.”

Avoiding ticks

Mites are active all year round when the weather exceeds 40 degrees Celsius. Here are some expert preventive tips:

  • Please wear light-colored clothes.
  • Wear long pants and sleeves.
  • Follow the instructions to use the repellent.
  • Walk in the middle of the promenade.
  • Check your clothes frequently.
  • When you get home, let the clothes dry for 10 minutes at the highest temperature setting to kill the mites.
  • Carefully check your body for ticks, especially in the groin and behind the knees.
  • Keep your pet away from tick-infested areas and check before entering the house.

If you find a tick:

  • Studies have shown that mites must stay in the body for 36 hours to transmit Lyme disease.
  • Use fine tweezers or a tick removal tool. Grab where the tick’s mouth is in the skin and pull it straight out.
  • After removing the mites, disinfect the sting area and wash your hands.

Source: Suffolk County Health Services Department

Tracking ticks in Suffolk

Suffolk County conducts tick monitoring in each of the 10 towns, testing for pathogens that cause Lyme disease and several other diseases. Nassau County does not carry out a similar tick survey.

Below is the percentage of adult and larval black-footed mites that also carried the pathogen B. burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, identified at the county site in 2020.

South Sold

Southampton

Smithtown

Shelter Island

River head

Eye slip

Huntington

East Hampton

Brookhaven

Babylon

  • 33.3% –Adult
  • 33.3% –Nymph

Source: Suffolk County Health Services Department

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