Regional Tick Task Force
Staff members and residents from local Middlesex towns have been meeting since September 2012 to confront this serious regional public health issue and share ideas and resources regarding prevention of tick-borne diseases. Known officially as the Middlesex Tick Task Force, representatives from Acton, Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln and Weston envision their mission as providing tick-borne disease education for their residents. The groups’ goals are to increase awareness of tick-borne diseases in our towns, to educate residents about effective prevention measures, and to promote inter-town collaboration about these diseases in Middlesex County
The Massachusetts Lyme Disease Commision reports that "The scourge of Lyme disease in the Commonwealth has been described as having reached epidemic proportions and as endemic in all of Massachusetts. “Regions of particularly high incidence include Cape Cod and the Islands, as well as some areas in Norfolk, Middlesex, Essex, and southern Berkshire Counties.” Although annual reports through MDPH may fluctuate, the trend is not encouraging; the incidence of tick-borne disease (Lyme + co-infections) is on the rise, both numerically and geographically. Massachusetts ranks among the most highly endemic states, with incidence rates that placed it in second place in the nation in 2008. "
Read the full report here:Lyme Disease Commision Final Report
Tickborne Diseases and Our Community
There is a growing number of reported Tickborne Disease cases through out Massachusetts and New England. Understanding The Ecosystem which supports tick populations is an important factor in avoiding disease transmission along with employing personal protective measures.
Ticks can be found in grassy fields, wooded areas, the edge of roadways/sidewalks as well as backyards.
Ticks thrive in shady humid areas with leaf litter and around stone walls.
Tick Encounters can be a daily occurance
Walking The Dog Working in the Yard Contact with Pets
Preventative measures should be observed year round with special attention taken May through October. Protect yourself!
7 Easy Steps
1. Be aware of tick endemic areas and keep to the middle of hiking trails and walk ways( Ticks thrive in shady humid areas with leaf litter and low brush).
2. The single most important thing you can do is check yourself for ticks daily.
3. Prompt removal of an embedded tick will greatly reduce the chances of the tick transmitting disease. Use a pair of pointed tweezers or tick removal tool.
5. Chemically-treated clothing (permethrin) and use of Deet on skin are two more tools that people should consider adding to their personal tick protection plans, in addition to frequent tick checks and proper tick removal.
6. Treat your pets. Perform a body scan of legs, belly and head after a walk to remove the ticks before they are brought into your home or car. Apply a topical tick repellant monthly.
7. Creat a yard environment unsuitable for ticks. Remove leaf litter and brush around your house, trim the lawn to 2" and keep shrubs, bushes and plants trimmed neatly. Also consider using pyrethrin treated products like TickTubes to reduce mice populations and or have a licensed professional Pest Control Company perform perimiter spray of your yard.
Ticks in Your Yard: Here's What to Do!
Steps You Can Take
You don't have to be walking in the woods to be bitten by a tick. You can be in your own backyard!
Ticks like damp, shady, brushy, leafy areas, where they can wait for a person or an animal (like a deer or a mouse) to come by. The tick waits for direct contact with a passing person or animal.
Reducing ticks in your yard means making your yard less attractive to ticks, and less attractive to animals that carry ticks, like mice and deer.
Is your yard damp with shrubs and shade? Are there rotting leaves along fences, wood piles, or rock walls? If the answer is yes, your yard may be attractive to ticks and to animals that carry ticks like deer and mice. Reduce the number of ticks around your home by following these steps:
Please visit The TickEncounter Resource Center (TERC) "Think TICK...Take Action! Toolbox" ; full of strategies for tick bite protection and disease prevention.
A deer tick nymph(left) and female(right). Nymphs pose the greatest risk of disease transmission as they are very difficult to detect.
Read attached handout Tickborne Disease in our community
Tickborne Disease Fact Sheets or order supplies for your rganization from MDPH Bureau of Infectious Disease
If you have been bitten by a tick and wish to have it tested to determine if it is a carrier for Lyme, Babesiosis or Anaplasmmois,(* note that this will not tell you if you have been infected)
UMass Extension Tick Diagnostic Lab
Attn: Tick Assessment
Holdsworth Natural Resources Center, 160 Holdsworth Way
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003-9285
Use exact address to ensure delivery.
For specific information, contact: Dr. Craig Hollingsworth, (413) 545-1055
Please consult your physician for appropriate lab testing and medical treatment plans.