Category Archives: Lyme disease

Lyme Disease info

This Lyme Disease information came from new dog owner Chris McCue -


Hi Pete,

 

Big thanks to Lyme Disease Prevention Committee and Chris Kaldy for continuing to lead the charge. As a relatively new dog owner (since November), I’ve gotten a crash course on ticks, Lyme Disease, and related issues. Sadly, our puppy tested positive for Lyme about a month ago after getting numerous tick bites – mostly from her romps at Wheelock during the early spring months when the adult ticks were emerging hungry!

 

Here are the most interesting things I learned in case it can help others:

 

  1. Tickencounter.org out of University of Rhode Island is a phenomenal resource for anyone who wants to learn about issues related to ticks and gain practical prevention advice. The site contains a wealth of information, is updated regularly, and provides timely alerts (right now it’s saying that nymph ticks — the smallest that carry disease and the most difficult to spot — are at their peak). All in all, this is shaping up to be an especially bad tick season for the Northeast.

 

  1. Tickencounter.org and landscapers knowledgeable about tick control suggest skipping pesticide treatment of regularly mowed areas (like playing fields) that bask in the sun during the day and are dry (which ticks don’t like), and instead treat the perimeters of those areas where they meet humid wooded and/or brush/tall grassy areas that ticks love. (With the results of a recent study on the link between pesticides and autism on the news last night, smart use of pesticides seems even more important now.)  A landscaping company that understands ticks well will be judicious with use of pesticides by limiting it to those areas that get the most human contact, such as landscaped garden beds, yard perimeters, or any other at-risk location that the homeowner frequents.  (As an aside, it’s recommended that landscapers and homeowners make a point of trimming high grass that grows around the feet of picnic tables, playground equipment, etc. I’ve seen quite a bit of this at the base of the picnic tables on the lawn area outside of Metacomet tennis courts.)

 

  1. In partnership with Tick Encounter, University of Massachusetts runs a tick testing lab and publishes data on the prevalence of tick-borne diseases in communities based on self-reporting. Anyone can send a tick to UMass for testing, and at $50 per test, it’s cheaper than the private lab in Norwood. Turn around is 3-5 days for the UMass results. Tick testing is helpful for determining risk of acquiring a tick-borne disease (for humans or pets). Especially for pets that spend a lot of time outdoors, when an engorged tick is found but no symptoms have developed, a negative tick test can prevent unnecessary antibiotic use. Here’s the UMass link: http://ag.umass.edu/services/tick-borne-disease-diagnostics

 

  1. The UMass lab has also partnered with a number of towns in Middlesex and Barnstable Counties to provide free tick testing, partly so that it can study the prevalence of tick-borne diseases in specific communities. Interestingly, UMass has no Norfolk County partners, despite the high prevalence of Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illnesses in our communities.

http://www.masslive.com/living/index.ssf/2014/04/umass_lab_offers_tick_testing_as_part_of_states_network_of_surveillance.html

 

  1. In addition to regular tick checks, six additional tips that I’ve personally found helpful and have been promoted by the experts mentioned earlier:

 

Treat the shoes of everyone in your family with permethrin spray (let dry before wearing) to prevent ticks on the ground from climbing up. The spray is available at most hardware and outdoor stores. (But don’t spray it on a windy day or when bees are present.)

 

Put out TickTubes (cardboard tubes with permethrin-infused cotton balls) around the perimeter of your yard – especially in stone walls, wood piles, etc. These can help break the tick reproduction cycle. Mice and chipmunks pull out the cotton and use it to line their nests, and the cotton kills the ticks that ride on the rodents. The TickTubes are made by Daminex, but not all places sell them, so people should call around. They can be purchased online.

 

Consider wearing special permethrin-treated clothing, hats, socks, etc. (Insect Shield is brand; it was developed the man who launched TickEncounter), especially for outdoor activity like gardening, hiking, etc. that puts you in frequent contact with tick habitat. This clothing is safer than spraying your entire body with DEET, and the CDC also recommends this type of clothing. (One interesting Insect Shield item I purchased from a hunting site:  a lightweight dog vest. The dog looks a little silly in it, but it works well for off-leash play when we can’t control every step that our pup takes.)

 

Use your dryer against ticks. Clothing worn outside in tick habitat should be thrown in the dryer immediately on high heat for an hour (before being washed) since it will kill ticks relatively quickly (the washing machine won’t). Ticks will live for several days in the hamper, putting anyone who is doing laundry at risk. Interestingly, it was Jacqueline Flynn — the daughter of Needham-based Hartney-Greymont arborist Pat Flynn — who conducted the Braintree High School science experiment that showed how effective the dryer was. Her study made national news and the CDC has backed up her research and has been spreading the tip.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/03/31/braintree-student-tick-experiment-catches-attention-cdc-scientists/eH2Sga4HgeDandLJDFwQKI/story.html

 

According to our vet, tick-borne illness prevention and treatment is one of the most hotly argued topics among all vets. I’ve been encouraged by our vet to do my research, ask questions, and then make decisions based on what I feel is right vs. feeling like I’m being pushed into a course of action. Opinions differ on use of the Lyme vaccine with dogs, antibiotic use for a positive Lyme test but no symptoms, benefits of regular disease testing, etc. Searching for research by reputable organizations online (e.g., Cornell University) is helpful until that research is outdated, so beware of even the most credible scientific studies. Your vet should be knowledgeable and willing to help you make sense of it all.

 

Hope this wrap-up of the information I’ve learned helps save others time and effort!

 

Chris

Lyme Disease FB page

The Lyme Disease Study Committee has created its own Facebook page (click here) to share all the information it puts together and collects on protecting oneself from and preventing Lyme Disease.  Join the Facebook page to let ongoing information posts and best practices about dealing with this major health problem in our town.

Additionally, Carolyn Sampson found two really useful videos on Lyme Disease issues through the Massachusetts DPH, that the Committee recommends to people.

The Committee welcomes new members, if anyone is interested in working on Lyme Disease issues in Medfield.

Finally, below are the minutes of the Committee’s 5/19/14 meeting:


Town of Medfield Lyme Disease Citizen Study Committee

Meeting Minutes – Monday, May 19, 2014 – 7:00 pm

 

Attendees: Chris Kaldy (Chair), Frank Perry, Barry Mandell, Erica Reilly, Carolyn Samson, Pete Peterson, new member Michelle Dever Whelan
Minutes – reviewed meeting minutes from Apr 16.

 

Controlled Hunt – looking toward next fall

Frank is planning to attend the ConComm meeting on June 5 to request permission to hunt on their lands again next fall and about posting signage. He is searching for the best pricing for purchasing tree stands (“committee stands”) and possibly trail cameras with the balance of our budget. These will be set in strategic locations and used by multiple people. Chris completed the pamphlet on deer management though waiting to hear back from Mass Wildlife for permission to use their name as a supporter. Will give copies to Frank and post in Town Hall and on website. Pete will send to legislators. Discussed next fall’s preparation of permits and orange hunting season signs that need rewording. Frank reported he still has many of the Tick Warning signs available. Wheelock needs reposting.

 

(Per Barbara Roth, the bill to allow Sunday hunting has gone to the Ways & Means Committee and will be voted on around early June. Passage is for the 2015-hunting season.)

 

Actions:

  • Frank & Barry to make supply purchases for next season.
  • Frank to ask ConComm for permission to post land at June 5 meeting.
  • Chris to print pamphlets once MWL gives permission and post in Town Hall & on website.
  • Pete to send a letter to our state reps & senator (Garlick, Dooley, Timilty and Richard Ross of Wrentham) with our pamphlet, asking them to sponsor legislation to reduce the setback law.
  • Nancy to contact Dan Wolff about supplying schools with his new device.

 

 

Tick & Lyme Education / Website

Discussed how to reach more people. Also would like to publish articles with stories about people, prevalence rates, carditis and other angles. Chris found the cost to put an insert in the Hometown Weekly to be $220 plus the cost of printing 4500 pieces to total about $560. Concern with this method is it’s a one-time household hit and many people throw out the inserts without looking or just throw the paper out. Other ideas discussed – putting in water/sewer bill, Cable 8, Facebook, and Twitter.

Chris reported that the CDC has published new materials and offers public service announcement feeds as well as a new clinician CME study course on Lyme. Also the Mass Dept of Public Health is redesigning its educational materials for tick-borne disease awareness and prevention. Chris said that she learned from Barbara Roth in Dover that they found point of purchase dispensers with tick cards most effective of all educational efforts in Dover.

  • Erica to start a Facebook account for us.
  • Carolyn will look at public service information options available via MDPH and/or CDC and contact Cable 8 about airing them.
  • Chris to buy small plastic dispensers for tick cards and take to local vendors to put at points of purchase.
  • Erica to contact Medfield Patch to publish article.
  • Xxx to ask library to consider posting information again on their bulletin board.
  • Erica to bring tick warning signs to Park & Rec new director.

 

 

Other:

1. Spraying fields – Michelle brought up spraying the playing fields in town. Park & Rec voted down spraying McCarthy. Michelle says that Memorial was sprayed last year.

  • Michelle to contact Superintendent about how to go about getting this done.
  • Michelle to find out who sprayed Memorial School.
  • Erica to find out why P&R didn’t spray McCarthy.
  • Carolyn to find out who manages Wheelock fields.

 

 

2. Budget – new budget starts on July 1.

 

 

 

Next Meeting: Monday, June 23, 2014 in the Warrant Meeting Room at Town Hall, 7 pm

Submitted by Chris Kaldy

Lyme Disease – deer cull up & vehicle collisions down

These minutes from the Lyme Disease Study Committee -

Town of Medfield Lyme Disease Citizen Study Committee

Meeting Minutes – Monday, Jan 13, 2014 – 7:00 pm

Attendees: Chris Kaldy (Chair), Frank Perry, Barry Mandell, Erica Reilly, Carolyn Samson, Pete Peterson
Minutes – reviewed meeting minutes from Nov 18 (no December meeting)

 

Controlled Hunt Fall 2013 – Season finished

Frank reported that 40 deer (to be confirmed) were culled this season from all over town.  Feels the hunters who did best were those working in teams.  We did not receive any negative feedback this season.  Mike Francis would like to hold a cookout for Dover & Medfield hunters.

Ideas to improve next year’s hunt, address town land use and illegal hunters more clearly:

  1. Update Hunting Season sign to say No Hunting except by permit.
  2. Create a permanent sign to post on town land and add the second sign in season.  Maybe Jason Spiess can produce these for us.
  3. Evaluate all hunters since now 3 seasons and some have not taken any deer.
  4. Require some community service hours of all hunters.
  5. Reaffirm at Selectmen’s meeting our authority to be the only group that can issue hunting permits.
  6. Obtain key to gate at entrance to water department land.
  7. Request additional budget to purchase a couple trail cameras and tree stands (for our “community”) as well as a stipend for Barry’s service.
  8. Encourage private owners to use our program rather than private hunters.
  9. Consider when to do background checks again.

 

Barry reported he’s collecting data from animal control officers on the number of deer collisions in Medfield and neighboring towns for the past years, including Millis, Medway, Franklin, and Bellingham.  Data to date:

2009    ‘10       ‘11       ‘12       ’13                   Average over 5 yrs

Medfield           41        59        43        29        18                    38

Dover               41        46        38        38        41                    41

 

Actions:

  • Chris to remind hunters to remove stands by end of January.
  • Frank to confirm deer taken and send list to Mike Francis.
  • Frank & Barry to collect hunter logs.
  • Chris to contact Mike Francis about cookout.
  • Carolyn to find out our current budget balance and if we can spend it on items other than those in our original budget, i.e. trail cameras, tree stands, Barry.
  • Chris to ask Evelyn to be on Feb 4 Selectmen’s meeting agenda
  • Chris to find out Denise Garlick’s office hours to meet to discuss hunting rules.
  • Chris to finish pamphlet.

 

 

Tick & Lyme Education / Website

1.  Tick Check Posters – Carolyn received new batch

  • Carolyn will take new ones to Nancy to distribute in schools.

 

2.  Sports Coaches – Erica and Carolyn decided the best way to reach kids’ parents would be to have a tick notice added to the emails sent out by the coaches to the parents, rather than relying on the coaches or coaches’ meetings to inform parents and kids.

  • Erica & Carolyn will contact spring sport coaches (baseball, soccer, lacrosse) at the appropriate time and give them blurb for emails.

 

3.  Park & Recreation – new director coming on

  • Erica will meet with new director to educate him/her on ticks and offer signs to be put up around McCarthy Park.

 

4.  New ‘N Towne

  • Carolyn will check in with President to be ask if they’re still handing out data at newcomers’ meetings and if blurb could be added to emails as well as on website.

 

5.  Recent articles in our favor discussed -

1.  Article in Time Magazine (Dec 9) reported on the need to manage various overabundant wildlife species by responsible hunting.

2.  Article in Boston Globe (Dec 9) reported how 2 state Senators (Robert Hedlund, Weymouth, and Richard Ross, Wrentham) recovered from bad cases of Lyme disease.

3.  Article in Boston Globe (Dec 13) reported carditis from Lyme disease caused 3 deaths, indicating that Lyme can be fatal.

 

 

Other

1.  Scout Project – Chris reported that Robert hung 10 owl boxes in the water department land by Wheelock and so has completed his project for us.

 

 

 

Next Meeting:  Monday, Feb 10, 2014 in the Warrant Meeting Room at Town Hall, 7 pm

Submitted by Chris Kaldy

Lyme Disease national info

This email with interesting info from the Congress on Lyme Disease-

  • more ticks because of global warming
  • Lyme disease only receives $25 million from NIH compared with $3 billion for HIV/AIDS and $112 million for Hepatitis C, despite Lyme incidence being magnitudes greater at 300,000+ new Lyme cases per year in US as compared to 50,000 new cases of HIV/AIDS and 17,000 new cases of Hep C”

was shared by Erica Reilly of our Lyme Disease Study Committee -

From: Nancy Dougherty
Subject: Senate Briefing on Lyme Disease
Date: December 9, 2013 at 10:00:46 PM EST
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Dear friends,

I attended a Senate briefing in Washington DC last week sponsored by the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) to address the national health crisis of Lyme and tick-borne diseases.  The briefing was aimed at advancing Senate Bill S.719, the Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act. Lyme disease is a major public health problem and testimonies from prominent physicians, advocates and chronic sufferers were compelling.  Senate staffers heard loud and clear that current diagnostics are unreliable, hundreds of thousands of patients are suffering, global warming is accelerating the worldwide epidemic, and more research funding is vitally needed.

Washington is starting to recognize the magnitude of human suffering and economic burden [$3B+ in US] created by Lyme and tick-borne diseases.  Staffers from Rep. Chris Gibson, (R-NY), Senator Kirstin Gillibrand (D- NY) and Senator Bob Casey’s (D- PA) offices told me fighting Lyme disease is a priority and they will work to improve education for awareness & prevention and funding for research to improve diagnostics & treatments. However, the Lyme disease community needs to unite toward these common goals.  Senator Gillibrand, along with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) are cosponsoring S.719, which would establish a Tick-Borne Disease Advisory Committee and invest additional federal funds into Lyme disease research and education.  Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), founder and co-chair of the Lyme Disease Caucus in Congress, has sponsored similar legislation in the house (HR610 and HR611).

Lyme disease only receives $25 million from NIH compared with $3 billion for HIV/AIDS and $112 million for Hepatitis C, despite Lyme incidence being magnitudes greater at 300,000+ new Lyme cases per year in US as compared to 50,000 new cases of HIV/AIDS and 17,000 new cases of Hep C (sources: NIH and CDC websites).

David Roth, Co-Chairman of TBDA, stated “National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that the impact of Lyme disease on physical health status was at least equal to the disability of patients with congestive heart failure, osteoarthritis and greater than those observed in type 2 diabetes”.  Dr. Patricia DeLaMora, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Weill Cornell Medical Center, said “Children are disproportionately affected by Lyme disease. We need accurate diagnostics and a well-educated medical community. The current diagnostics for Lyme disease are unreliable in the early stages when recognition and treatment are vital, and cannot accurately distinguish between old and new infections.” John Donnally, a 24 year old Lyme disease survivor and advocate who just completed a 3500 mile cross-country cycling public awareness TBDA campaign “Bite Back for a Cure”, conveyed “the epidemic is pernicious and rampant and a meaningful number of people do not get better”. Additional testimony from patient advocates, Karla and Victoria Lehtonen and Kelly Downing, illuminated their devastating stories of multiple systemic Lyme disease that baffled numerous medical experts due to inadequate diagnostics, resulting in ongoing symptoms including severe neurological impairment.  Karla quoted Dr. John Aucott’s research as indicating a significant percent of patients fail treatment and go onto chronic illness.  Dr. Richard Ostfeld, PhD, disease ecologist and Lyme disease specialist at Cary Institute, said “climate change is broadening the geographic range of ticks and their pathogens and the public health impact is getting worse”. When Heather Thompson (entrepreneur & Bravo Housewife of NYC) posed the question, “Do any of you want Lyme Disease?”, there was an uncomfortable silence.  A universal conclusion was the need for more research for tick control, diagnostics and therapeutics. 

Another important event in Washington last week was the FDA’s approval of Gilead’s Hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, on Friday.  This novel oral drug is a direct-acting antiviral agent effective across a range of Hep C genotypes, adding an important weapon to the therapeutic armamentarium for anti-HCV therapy.  Why is this important or relevant for Lyme disease?  Because it shows that investment in research can produce significant innovation that will substantially improve patients’ lives!  This is an important shift in the treatment paradigm for Hep C patients since the need for side-effect inducing interferon shots will be reduced or eliminated.  It’s also a model for future Lyme disease therapeutics that could potentially, like Sovaldi, target disease specific mechanisms with improved efficacy and work in a range of genotypes.  Also, it’s important to recognize that innovations for illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, Hep C, Cancer and other illnesses depend upon a collaborative national network of clinical research centers for testing innovative diagnostics and therapeutics.  This is presently non-existent for Lyme disease, so there is much work ahead to improve outcomes for patients with Lyme disease as compared with these other illnesses.

Dr. John Aucott has a nationally recognized leading-edge Lyme disease clinical research program at the Lyme Disease Research Foundation that is generating scientific evidence to enhance the understanding of the pathophysiology of the illness and enable the progression of improved diagnostics and therapies. However, at the briefing, it was acknowledged that programs of this caliber are not sustainable indefinitely without government support.  For more information about the Lyme Disease Research Foundation, please visit www.LymeMD.org/.  Donations to fund this vital research are greatly appreciated and will make a meaningful difference in advancing the Lyme disease field.

Thank you for your interest in keeping abreast of Lyme disease issues. Wishing you good health and an enjoyable holiday season with family and friends.

All the best,

Nancy

Nancy Dougherty

Lyme Disease Research Foundation
617-686-8185
Please follow me on twitter @NancyNDougherty

Deer hunt

At the Lyme Disease Study Committee meeting last night it was shared that we are at the height of the annual rut, when the deer are moving around more than any other time of year looking to mate, so be especially careful when driving this week.

Also -

  • 21 deer culled so far in first month of the hunt this year with more than a month to go, versus 29 in each of the last 2 years
  • lots of illegal hunting is happening in town, which the town hunters monitor, control, and end
  • only female ticks carry Lyme Disease; only half the female ticks carry Lyme Disease; only a fifth of the nymphs carry Lyme Disease
  • tick bites tend to effect the person for about a month
  • deer vehicle collisions average between 30-50 per year in town

Dover Lyme Forum on Medfield.TV

From Erica Reilly of the Lyme Disease Study Committee -

Here is the listing of when the Medield TV stations will run the Dover Lyme Forum.
Thanks
Erica

Here’s the current airing schedule.  A total of 63 runs so far. Have a good week.               -hong-

+ Sun 09/22/13 06:00 PM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Sun 09/22/13 09:00 AM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Sat 09/21/13 03:00 PM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Sat 09/21/13 01:00 PM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Sat 09/21/13 07:00 AM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Fri 09/20/13 10:00 PM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Fri 09/20/13 01:00 PM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Fri 09/20/13 05:00 AM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Thu 09/19/13 08:00 PM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Thu 09/19/13 11:00 AM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Wed 09/18/13 06:00 PM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Wed 09/18/13 09:00 AM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Tue 09/17/13 08:00 PM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Tue 09/17/13 03:00 PM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Tue 09/17/13 07:00 AM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Mon 09/16/13 10:00 PM Channel 08/47 (Public)
+ Mon 09/16/13 11:00 AM Channel 08/47 (Public)

Deer counted on Martha’s Vineyard

A professor uses his specially created instrument to do an aerial count of deer on Martha’s Vineyard, as first step to seek to correlate deer densities with occurrences of Lyme Disease.  See the article here.

Mosquito & tick control

Commonwealth of Massachusetts information, including videos, on dealing with Mosquitos and ticks.  Click here.

Weston votes for hunting deer

The May 15 annual town meeting (ATM) warrant article to ban hunting in Weston failed by a resounding vote of about 75% to 25%.

Great report last night from Chris Kaldy of the Lyme Disease Study Committee to the Board of Selectmen.  Selectmen voted to change their mission to include deer management for purposes of improving public safety (we are averaging 46 deer/vehicle collisions a year), reducing the ecological damage to the forests caused by the current over grazing by deer, as well as reducing Lyme disease.

Lyme disease talk 4/23 in Weston

Weston Conservation Commission presents
Deer Management Forum
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Weston Community Center (Great Room)
Alphabet Lane, Weston

Lyme, Ticks, Deer, and Mice: What are the Connections?

Dr. Sam Telford of Tufts University will discuss the complex
relationship between tick‐borne illnesses, ticks, and their hosts,
and what practical approaches communities can take to reduce the
incidence of these diseases.

Use of Contraception for the Management of Deer Populations
Dr. Allen Rutberg, Director of the Center for Animals and Public
Policy at the Tufts‐Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, will
discuss successes and challenges in using contraception to manage
deer‐human conflicts.

Deer Biology and Management Options
Dr. John McDonald, Assistant Professor at Westfield State
University will discuss deer survival, movements, and population
dynamics in Massachusetts.

Please contact the Weston Conservation Commission at 781‐786‐5068 or Conservation@westonmass.org for more information.