Spring is right around the corner, and with the warmer weather comes an influx of mosquitoes and ticks. With growing numbers of West Nile Virus and Lyme disease, municipalities are growing more and more aware of the dangers of vector-borne disease. Many local governments have already planned for more widespread mosquito control and now Virginia has passed a new bill dealing with Lyme disease.
Lyme disease numbers in Virginia have been rising the last few years. This past week Governor McDonnell passed the Lyme Disease Testing Awareness Act. The act requires doctors to warn patients that current Lyme disease testing isn’t 100% accurate and that false negatives can occur. Physicians will be expected to start informing their patients starting July 1, 2013.
The bill was sponsored by Fairfax delegate Barbara Comstock who believes it is a positive step towards a more open-minded approach to treating Lyme. Transmitted by ticks, Lyme disease is easily treatable by antibiotics when caught early. The earlier it is properly diagnosed, the better the chance of a full recovery. Unfortunately, Lyme disease isn’t always easy to diagnose and when left untreated can result in serious, if not lifelong, complications, including joint paint and heart disease.
Monte Skall, the executive director of National Capital Lyme Disease Association, explains that the bill “was truly a successful grass-roots effort, proving that people are working together can bring about real change to benefit victims of Lyme disease.” Source.
Comstock adds that it was “a great step in raising awareness about this terrible disease and the high incidence of patients receiving false negative tests for Lyme” Source.
As spring and summer come and we spend more time outdoors, it’s important to vigilant as to your surroundings but also aware that ticks aren’t only present in woods, but everywhere outdoors. To minimize your chances of getting Lyme disease, you need to minimize your exposure to ticks. When spending significant time outdoors, it’s best to wear light colored loose clothing, that way you can see if a tick is on you. After coming indoors, do a thorough body checking, paying particular attention to hard to reach areas like behind the knees and under your arms. If you find a tick on you, remove it promptly (following this guide from the Center for Disease Control) and place the tick in a plastic bag. If you are worried that the tick may be a Lyme carrier, take it to the doctor and have it tested.
At Mosquito Squad, we help protect our clients from ticks in their backyards with our professional tick control. Our barrier treatment kills adult ticks on contact. Additionally we use tick tubes to kill the ticks before they can bite our clients. If you have a large tick population on your property or just want to be extra careful this year, contact your local Mosquito Squad office.