Wow… that’s an ASTONISHING number! However, Dr. Catherine M. Brown, deputy state epidemiologist estimates it is the number of people getting Lyme in Massachusetts each year. 87,000!
In 2017, only 8,692 people tested positive and only 5,829 people four years before that, but Brown believes that most cases aren’t reported. Nonetheless, tick-borne illness numbers are on the rise whether you count unreported cases or not.
The numbers of anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis are up from 341 in 2013 to 1,226 in 2017. The CDC has released a report stating TRIPLE the cases in mosquito, flea, and tick-borne illness from 2004 to 2016. Stephen Rich, director of the Laboratory of Medical Zoology at UMass Amherst says that the increase is a reflection of more instances and also more awareness.
It is Rich’s program, Tickreport.com, that is being used to test ticks all over the country and to track where they are and what germs they carry. It’s as simple as putting the tick in a bag, dead or alive, and mailing it in. For a fee, you will know what the tick you’ve found carries within 3 days.
This program is so worthwhile that the government of Massachusetts has created funding to keep the testing fee low in efforts to get people to use the crowdsourcing service. Tick Report has partnered with Tickspotters to try to collect more information about people and their tick experiences.
As tick numbers in Massachusetts continue to rise, any information that leads to the understanding of tick behavior, migration, and the diseases they carry, a well as further prevention, is important and necessary. Rich tells the Boston Globe that “People need to think of protecting themselves from bites in the same way they put on sunscreen at the beach — a necessary precaution, every year.”
Tick Bite Prevention at Home
At Mosquito Squad of Fall River and the South Shore, we hope you will use these resources for your own information sake as well as for the good of everyone. Lyme disease is a real problem in our state and is growing rapidly. We all have to do our part. Keeping the tick population down at home is one way to do it. And we can help you. Our barrier treatment eliminates adult ticks on contact and continues to work for up to 3 weeks. The addition of our tick tube system begins to work on the next generation of ticks and keeps them from ever making it out into the open of your yard. We would love to discuss these treatments with you.