Lyme disease a real problem for county [Hunterdon County, NJ], Express-Times News, 25 Jul 01 
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 Lyme disease a real problem for county [Hunterdon County, NJ], Express-Times News, 25 Jul 01

Lyme disease a real problem for county


The Express-Times

RARITAN TWP. - Although Hunterdon County has five workers dedicated
to tracking the mosquito-borne West Nile virus, no one is primarily
assigned to the more prevalent health risk posed by Lyme disease.

Hunterdon freeholders on Tuesday called for increased efforts to control
the disease. Hunterdon County is in one of the nations leading Lyme
disease hotbeds.

Deer ticks transmitted the disease to 618 people in the county during
1999 and another 543 in 2000, according to the Hunterdon County Health

Lyme disease, and other bacterial ailments carried by ticks, often set
in with flu-like symptoms or a circular, red bulls-eye rash and can be
fatal if not treated with heavy antibiotics.

"The mosquito problem is not really a problem; thats my point,"
Freeholder Marcia Karrow said following a presentation by county Health
Director John Beckley. "We had 543 human beings" with the disease last

In contrast, officials said testing for the West Nile virus last year
found two horses with the disease - one fatal - and six crows that died
as a result.

No humans contracted the disease in Hunterdon.

Freeholders ideas for addressing Lyme disease included lobbying the
state Legislature to fund a dedicated health worker to track county
ticks and using a member of the county mosquito vector team to sample

Beckley said teams would likely succeed in tracking Lyme disease by
dividing the county into regions and sampling ticks in set county parks
in each area.

Commonly used methods include drag testing, in which health officials
drag white cloths across the ground and count the ticks that attach
themselves to the cloth.

Testers then bring the ticks to a county lab where they are tested for
different ailments, including Lyme disease and the related Human
Granuloctic Ehrlichiosisand Babesiosis. Cq

"I think a county like Hunterdon, that has the problem we currently have
with Lyme disease, ought to be doing some real fieldwork," Beckley said.
"Lyme is 100 percent preventable."

The problem is that anti-West Nile programs are funded by the national
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state and federal
governments, officials said. But rarely do federal or state agencies
devote funding to Lyme disease programs.

In a recent letter to Deputy Freeholder Director George Melick, a state
health official said the state throws more money at West Nile for good

"The apparent disparity ... represents little more than the public
health response to an established disease compared to an emerging
disease," wrote James S. Blumenstock Sr., assistant commissioner of
public health and prevention programs.

Since 1998, Lyme disease has infected 4,237 people in Hunterdon.

Melick said county health officials should lobby the federal government
for help.

Despite a lack of funding in the immediate future, all five freeholders
agreed something needs to be done about the problem, either by
government or citizens.

Ways to prevent the disease focus primarily on quickly finding ticks on
the skin, wearing light and long clothing, a new vaccine and keeping
lawns short to destroy tick habitats.

Pesticides have also been used to destroy as much as 90 percent of
larval deer ticks, Beckley said.

But controversy has surrounded what some contend is environmental
damage caused by the chemicals.

"Both of these problems are serious. The thing is with West Nile you can
attack the larvae without harming the rest of the environment,"
Freeholder Paul Sauerland said.

Lyme disease a real problem for county, Express-Times News, 25 Jul 01


Mon, 12 Jan 2004 04:17:02 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

 Relevant Pages 

1. Hunterdon [County, NJ] gets boost in tackling Lyme [disease], West Nile,, 23 Aug 01

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3. Hunterdon County NJ group needed

4. Benefit set for man with Lyme disease, Bucks County Courier Times, 2 Feb 01

5. Lawmakers seeking more money for Lyme disease research, Bucks County [PA] Courier Times, 11 Jun 01

6. Loudoun County's Growing Problem: Lyme Disease

7. Springtime is Lyme time, Courier Times, Bucks County, PA, 13 Apr 01

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9. Need Lyme Dr. in Monmouth County, N.J.

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