A male tick beside a match head for size comparison. A public forum on ticks and tick-borne diseases is being planned by the Acadia-area League of Towns. PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Tick and Lyme forum planned



TRENTON — Members of the Acadia-area League of Towns board decided at their meeting here Tuesday to hold a public forum on ticks and tick-borne diseases in early May on Mount Desert Island.

The exact date and location have not been determined.

Elected officials of the municipalities that make up the league agreed at their annual meeting in October to make ticks and tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, a major area of focus this year.

Healthy Acadia and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will help organize the forum and line up expert panelists. They likely will include one or more physicians, public health professionals, veterinarians, wildlife biologists and perhaps pesticide specialists.

Alfred May, the CDC’s Downeast district public health liaison, told the league board that a similar forum in Ellsworth in 2013 was well attended.

“It was about getting people to understand what ticks are, what they look like, what’s the typical habitat for ticks and how to prevent tick bites,” he said.

The most prevalent disease that deer ticks transmit is Lyme disease.

“But that’s not the only one we have to think about,” May said. “There’s anaplasmosis, there’s ehrlichiosis, and there are other diseases that are out there that ticks will infect people and animals with, especially dogs. Dogs are highly susceptible to Lyme disease and actually often get worse symptoms than humans.”

“The advantage for dogs,” May said, “is that there is a vaccine for Lyme disease, whereas there’s not one for humans.”

He said that when it comes to protecting oneself from tick bites, “You don’t have to stop going outside and doing things, you just have to take some precautions.”

Stu Marckoon, administrative assistant to the Lamoine selectmen and that town’s League of Towns representative, said, “As a property owner, I’d be interested in hearing what I can do with my landscaping to help lessen the chance [of tick bites].”

 

 

 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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