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Lyme Disease Is on The Rise in Fairfield and Westchester Counties

Author: Mosquito Squad of Fairfield, Westchester, and Rockland County

Federal health officials want to get the news out that the spread of Lyme disease is expanding. While this is news to few residents of the Northeast, it is not good news for residents of Fairfield and Westchester Counties. Lyme disease has been considered endemic in Connecticut from the time it was first identified in 1975. The state cannot escape the unfortunate association with the first identified cases that gave it the town’s name, Lyme, Conn. However, this does not mean the disease is limited to any designated border lines as a new CDC map reveals. You can find your area on the map here.

Significance of this New Map

Despite few changes to geographic centers identified as high incidence, the systematic approach of studying four consecutive 5-year periods has identified an increase in the number of counties that can now be included as high-risk areas.

Notwithstanding the many variables that limit surveillance data, this recent CDC analysis provides residents valuable information as to the geographical layout and magnitude of expansion of those areas at high-risk of susceptibility to Lyme disease.

Over the course of 20 years from 1993-2012, this map reflects:

  • An increase of greater than 320 percent in the number of counties identified as high incidence in the northeastern states,
  • An increase of 250 percent in the number of counties identified as high incidence in the north-central states.

Identifying Risk Factors that Cause the Spread of Lyme Disease

While attempts are made to identify factors contributing to the prevalence of the disease, the probability of encountering infected black-legged ticks responsible for carrying the B. burgdorferi bacteria that causes Lyme disease, granulocytic anaplasmosis and babeiosis is highly subject to human behavior and landscape characteristics.

Some of the risks are:

  • Deer and birds that serve as vehicles for infected tick dispersal
  • Increased forestation
  • Invasive non-native plant life – particularly the Japanese Barberry or Berberis thunbergii
  • Land development
  • Expansion of the safe-zones for the white-footed mouse, the culprit in delivering the bacteria to the ticks in the first place
  • Pets such as cats and dogs

Avoiding Tick Bites

Residents familiar with the drill know to keep their ankles and arms covered when exploring through high brush and grasses. Tuck those pant legs into the socks, and use a spray tick repellant on your shoes and clothing as well. It’s not just the dog’s hair you need to check for ticks; perform buddy inspections from head to toe as a total-body tick check before re-entering the house. You are looking for a black speck the size of a caraway seed.

Take Measures to Keep Your Grounds Tick-Free

There is much you can do despite what the surrounding community or counties are doing in preventing the spread of Lyme disease.

Some property controls you can perform are:

  • Keeping grass growth under control with regular mowing, edging and trimming
  • Keep brush and trees trimmed and clear of leaf litter
  • Restrict ground cover to hard surfaces or gravel stones where family travels
  • Include more decorative hardscapes in lieu of landscaping
  • Consider replacing some of the grass cover with wildflowers or herb gardens that serve as natural tick repellent
  • Treat the home’s perimeter with acaricides or pesticides that specifically kill ticks.

Studies are now showing Lyme disease is also spread through mosquito bites. Protect yourself and your loved ones now. {Sub:BusinessName} protects your property with a barrier spray to eradicate ticks and mosquitoes in the hot season when the incidence of bug bites is high. It’s your first line of defense to prevent these tiny ticks from hitching a ride on you or your pets and seeking harbor inside your home.