Massachusetts State Health Officials Reject CDC’s Lower Lyme Numbers

Author: Mosquito Squad of Southeastern Massachusetts

Just what are the real Lyme numbers in Massachusetts? It seems there are some different ideas about it. Just recently we told you that numbers were down by a huge rate compared to other states and gave you a great interactive map with the recent numbers from the CDC to back it up. According to that map, Bristol and Plymouth Counties Lyme disease instances had dropped considerably between 2012 and 2016.

However, Dr. Catherine Brown, Deputy State Epidemiologist at the Department of Public Health, says these numbers simply aren’t accurate. Now, this doesn’t mean that the CDC is trying to give us false information, we trust them for so much of the information about ticks and mosquitoes and disease that we pass onto you. What Dr. Brown explains to us is that we need to understand how the CDC calculates their numbers.

CDC Required Testing VS. DPH Required Testing

The CDC only accepts Lyme cases that have been verified with a positive lab test AND a clinical diagnosiswhen calculating state-by-state instances. “This was an extraordinarily burdensome system, not just for us in the department but for our local boards of health and also for our health care providers,” Dr. Brown said. Therefore, in 2016 the Department of Public Health began to rely solely on positive lab results for calculating the numbers of Lyme disease in Massachusetts. These calculations show our numbers stay almost the same from year-to-year. Of course, with the challenge of accurate diagnosis, it is generally accepted that numbers are quite higher in general.

Tick Project Coordinator with the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, Entomologist Larry Dapsis finds the DPHs choice to be the best one. He sites the CDC tracking system as a flawed and unfixable one and says that the best thing to be done is to stay vigilant in the fight of protecting against ticks. The best way to lower numbers in the fight against Lyme is not to get bitten by ticks. “You’ve got to not be tick afraid, but tick aware,” said Dapsis.

Protect Protect Protect

Dr. Brown points out that the time they have saved at the Department of Public Health chasing clinical diagnosis has extended the time they can spend studying Lyme for prevention and cure in the future.

At Mosquito Squad of Fall River and the South Shore, what doesn’t change from the previous post to this is our stress to you to stay on top of your tick control. As Dapsis said, the best way to keep from getting Lyme is not to get bitten by a tick. We repeat it again and again: Always use repellants when spending time outdoors. Follow the 6Cs of tick proofing your yard. Call the professionals. Mosquito Squad’s barrier treatment and tick tubing system is by far the best way to keep your yard and family protected from those awful little bloodsuckers. No Ticks, Lower Risk for Lyme, No Worries. Call us today.