With Lyme and newer tick-borne diseases threatening locals more and more, Suffolk County legislature is considering a new law aimed at fighting ticks much like the county tackles mosquitoes.
The new bill, announced Tuesday, would charge the county’s Vector Control division with the task of coming up with a yearly plan to control the tick population. Sponsors of the bill are concerned that tick-related diseases, such as Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, are on the rise, particularly on the East End. They say Vector Control has been paying too much attention to mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile and not addressing the spread of ticks in the county.
Under the proposed legislation, Vector Control would be required to outline the steps it is taking to reduce incidents of tick-related illness, the work it will be conducting, its methodology and the methods.
“Lyme disease is an epidemic on the East End of Long Island,” Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski stated in a statement. “Most of us have been impacted in some way by tick-borne disease. Suffolk County needs to play an active role to control this growing health problem.”
Shelter Island and North Haven are already exploring the “4-Poster” system, which is a method to attract white-tailed deer to feeding stations, thereby concentrating their population. Deer ticks are primarily associated Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosis.
The county division of Vector Control is part of the Suffolk County Health Department and operates on a yearly budget of $2.5 million. According to the county, Vector Control was initially created to focus on both mosquito and tick-borne illnesses.