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Lyme Spike Expected This Spring

A Lyme disease spike is expected this spring following a peak in the population of white-footed mice, the primary source of Lyme infection in deer ticks.

If you missed the Acorn Story about the coming spike in Lyme disease cases in the New York Times last fall, here’s the sequel. Blame acorns and mice for what’s coming down, said Richard Ostfeld, a scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY. In an almost biblical succession, a bumper crop of acorns in 2010 begat a number of white-footed mice in 2011, which in turn begat tons of infected ticks that now are lying underfoot waiting to emerge in late spring. Last week, Dr. Ostfeld presented his findings at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta describing the situation as “a ticking time-bomb."

Accentuating the “acorn spike” this winter’s mild weather has encouraged ticks to be active earlier than usual. So this year more than most, we all have reason to be extra-vigilant in the back yard as well as in the woods. Remember, most cases of Lyme disease are contracted on our home properties.

Article:  http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20120316/NEWS04/303160028?source=nletter-topnews

Ticks: what to look for: http://www.timeforlyme.org/prevention-deer-ticks.html

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kenneth J. Dartley March 23, 2012 at 07:00 PM
To SIMPLE-- What you fail to note is part of the page from which you took your stats--QUOTE-Since Lyme disease may be suspected based on broader clinical criteria, these data do not reflect all persons diagnosed or treated.UNQUOTE. Some years ago the State stopped mandatory reporting of all Lyme cases because in the words of the Health dept."We were overwhelmed" It is also worth noting that at the end of the data quoted by "Simple" there is a listing UNKNOWN of 1,409 cases which is about one half of the total of 3,409 in the report.
Simple March 23, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Hunting down the deer today because some people got Lyme in the past... well that makes no sense. It would be like putting on your seatbelt after you drive into a tree. And if we only have 11 cases per year going forward... well that just doesn't seem significant enough to gun down hundreds of deer. It would be like having leaves in your yard this Fall, so you go out and buy 200 rakes.
Kenneth J. Dartley March 23, 2012 at 07:02 PM
one last comment-- I am not a deer hunter-- I have however had Lyme 4 times
Simple March 23, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Ah, so there are 1,409 additional cases in people with no address. Why do you think they are in some way attributable to Ridgefield? Is that based on anything other than wishful thinking? If we are going to make things up, I could claim they are homeless people floating between Bridgeport and New Haven. No impact on the Ridgefield numbers seeing that we have no homeless people. If you really want to dissect the numbers, only two thirds of the 11 Ridgefield cases are confirmed. The rest are "probable". So I actually should be saying there were only 7 cases of Lyme Disease in Ridgefield in 2010. Here's an interesting stat, for every one case of Lyme Disease, there were about 10 cases of a sexually transmitted disease. What should we do -- shoot all the teenagers?
Kenneth J. Dartley March 23, 2012 at 07:45 PM
You are certainly jumping to conclusions-- Did I say that ANY of the unknown were in Ridgefield?? They might be homeless but are they not also to be protected?? I am afraid you have left me with your second and third paragraphs-- Where are you getting the actual of 7. Did you not read or comprehend what is quoted in the body of the report? We can give condoms to teenagers. Have you ever tried to put a condom on a deer?
Siwanoy March 23, 2012 at 07:47 PM
are you speaking about cases in CT? as in for every one case of lyme in CT ther are 10 cases of STD's in CT? because otherwise its pretty obvious that there would be way more STDs then Lyme nationwide & worldwide
The Mirror March 23, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Hi Simple - let me ask you directly. If it could be shown conclusively that reducing deer populations would reduce the number of lyme cases, would you be in favor of culling the deer? I didn't think so.
J Bauer March 23, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Simple - You are one of those animals first, people second types aren't you? Having known two people with Lyme disease, I can tell you that your concept of how the disease works is fundamentally incorrect. One of the two people I know who contracted Lyme has lifelong debilitating effects from it. The second person was unwell for nearly 2 years. I am not including the dozen or so people that I know who had SUSPECTED cases of Lyme and were treated with a prophylactic anti-biotic. How about this argument... people should be allowed to hunt. It's been part of human civilization for about 100,000 years and a handful of whiney PETA snobs should not be allowed to infringe on that fundamental right. AND, I am not even a hunter... just makes sense that everyone should have that choice.
Simple March 23, 2012 at 09:23 PM
I put animals first and people second? Need to get me one of those special computer monitors where I can see inside people's heads. Who makes that, Apple? Actually, I have no bias for people or animals. I'm just trying to be sensible. Here's how i see it, the state says there are 2,000 deer in Ridgefield. The controlled hunt might kill 200 of them, a 10% reduction. If there are 11 new cases of Lyme annually in Ridgefield, what do we hope to achieve? A reduction of 1 case? We are essentially going to shut down the woods for 5 months -- stopping all hikers, family outings, picnics, bird watchers from entering -- all so one person can be spared from taking antibiotics for a week? Does that seem sensible? Is that a good bang for the buck? I think all of this is made up really so hunters can have free reign.
Siwanoy March 23, 2012 at 09:41 PM
"all so one person can be spared from taking antibiotics for a week?" i'm done here, you still haven't realized that it effects people for more then a week, i've had Lyme come back 3 times since I got it the first time, i'm sure i'm not the only one, i'm also VERY lucky that i've never woken up and not been able to move my legs or arms because of Lyme. But sure, keep hanging onto your idea that Lyme is cured in a week and then its all over, you're a joke.
Charley March 23, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Bambi had to be the worse movie ever produced. To blame white-footed mice for the spread of lyme disease is like blaming the Columbian cocaine farmers for the all the cocaine in NYC. Spare me the chronological spiel of lyme disease. The number of ticks on one tick infected deer's ear is more than twice you'll find on any mouse. To avoid peta getting all in a huff, a nearby island will remain anonymous, where they eliminated all the deer and thus eliminated their lyme problem. The funds for Animal did manage to sue the island and lost but the community's treasury was depleted. There is not a sole on the island that doesn't think it was worth every penny. The deer population in New England alone for the past 25 years is larger than the entire U.S. deer population was at the time the pilgrims landed.
Charley March 23, 2012 at 09:50 PM
The annual number of human fatalities caused by deer is about 150 and climbs every year. The facts clearly stand out that deer are the number one cause of human death by animals. But because it is listed as an auto accident it does not register. The annual number of car and deer accidents was about 1.5 Million at a cost of 1 Billion Dollars, over 10,000 injuries and that was 6 years ago . The numbers only grow as deer population increases as do the human fatalities. Automobile insurers are seriously considering voiding claims caused by deer. Nothing more than a rodent with hoofs and antlers. Deer are a menace and if we don't shoot them with our guns then are cars will kill them.
Charley March 23, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I spent my summers growing up on a island where initially there were no deer and no lyme. There are now over 700 deer on the small island and lyme is very prevalent. It's gotten to a point where the uninformed believe the deer were always there. There are numerous situations because of the deer that is slowly destroying the island. The cranberries, blueberries, wild raspberries and many other small fruit berry bushes are all gone. The birds that fed off those bushes no longer inhabit the island. The forests have been so depleted of brush and trees from the foraging deer that all remains are dunes. Deer are a menace. Because of all the plant life they devour, many people have unknowingly imported plants not indigenous to the area and with the plants come the soil. Much of the soil comes from the South in which resides red bugs also known as chiggers. The chiggers, like the tiny ticks, thrive on the deer and stay dormant in the Winter. Let's put it this way, I'd rather pull ticks off of me than deal with a case of chiggers. Anyone from the South would agree.
Charley March 23, 2012 at 09:51 PM
The issue with ticks and deer gets worse and now lyme disease has metamorphosed into being undetectable until too late. Some strains are resistant to to antibiotics. There is nothing good about deer except to eat, if not already diseased from starvation due to over population. Deer are thriving in New England and especially Connecticut. The fact is there are more woods in CT now than there were 200 years ago. The stone walls that are practically in every corner of CT deep in the woods testifies to that fact. So much use to be farm land. The landscape almost looked like the English country side. The time, effort and money wasted on the futile attempt to sterilize deer is absurd. I won't even go into that detailed ridiculously expensive process with very limited success.
Charley March 23, 2012 at 09:51 PM
There is clearly a bias in favor of deer. What's frustrating is that the facts and figures are there for all to see and yet peta and alike continue their barrage of untruths that an uninformed public absorb. Deer are the main cause for the spread of lyme disease. I don't have mice as much as I do have a herd of deer in my back yard. I need to deal with the deer issue and should have the right to do so. I'm not allowed to get rid of deer in my backyard but I am allowed to get rid of a rat, unless of course peta has something to say about it.
Charley March 23, 2012 at 09:52 PM
It's the weekend, have to go but I'm just getting started.
Kenneth J. Dartley March 23, 2012 at 10:26 PM
One of the other reasons to bring the population of deer down to a sustainable level is what Charley alludes to above and that is the effect that the deer appetites have on the understory of the forest. First we are losing our wonderful wildflowers. They are eaten never to return. Next is that we are losing ground nesting and other birds because there is no longer cover. This has been reported for many years by birdwatchers. The devastation to new growth hardwoods is also a problem. Look in the forest and where you find an over abundance of deer you will be hard pressed to see new growth oaks or any other hardwoods. I actually heard one expert tell me that the human race shoud stop hunting deer since as the deer population will then grow to the point where they will run out of food and then nature will take over and bring the population down to a sustainable level. This from an animal rights "Expert".
Tom Falconieri March 24, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Simple the hunting of deer is simple simple!!! It is legal it is managed by the state and it controls the deer population. Until that changes the rules are SIMPLE. OR DIDN'T YOU KNOW THAT!!! SIMPLE. Simple i will hunt my heart out and follow the simple rules of the state Simple. So the answer is simple if you dont like hunting simply dont do it simple. But dont tell me simple i cant hunt a simple deer because it is my right it is legal and the dam simple animals simply taste so simply good simple.
Simple March 24, 2012 at 03:39 AM
"animals simply taste so simply good " I appreciate your honesty. I think you back up what I believe, that controlled hunts are about the recreational shooting of deer, not about reducing Lyme Disease.
Tom Falconieri March 24, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Not exactly true. I do believe a controlled hunt is necessary because of several facts. Car deer accidents are increasing by leaps and bounds. The understory is being destroyed by deer feeding and native birds have no place to roost because of this. The water supplies are becoming contaminated by deer waste run off and there are no natural predators to control them. So their numbers are sky rocketing. Not only in CT but all over the country. The control hunt is not a trophy hunt or recreational hunt. It is a controlled hunt to thin out the herds. If the herds continue to grow the deer will compete for food as all animals that are allowed to reproduce unchecked. Their has to be a balance. Example years back coyotes were responsible for taking out 60-65% of of new born fawns. So deer over produce. But now with the absence of predators the deer still produce more and more fawns. The balance is lopsided. So hunters must make up the difference in a controlled manner or hunt.
Elyse March 25, 2012 at 02:55 AM
For those looking for stats on how many cases there are, here is the handy-dandy chart from the CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/stats/chartstables/reportedcases_statelocality.html - if you don't want to be exposed, there are a few states with no reported cases - yet. As for overpopulation, I do agree but I think that people are the biggest overpopulation in this area. Just commute and you'll see how congested this area is. Plus the constant knocking down of woods, etc. to build macmansions is still going on, so the deer are encroaching on yards that was once their land. Hunting deer for food, or to control diseases, makes sense. It's a shame that man wiped out all the predators, and now he's paying the price. However, coyotes do kill deer in Fairfield County but as long as people's pets are also out there, coyotes will go for the smaller, easier prey (hint: do not leave your pets out on their own).
Elyse March 25, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Deep population stats and chow to keep them out of your yard: http://www.ct.gov/dph/lib/dph/infectious_diseases/lyme/ManagementofHostAnimals_FNL.pdf (which also points out which animals are the biggest reservoir of ticks). Oh, and when I meant 'control diseases' in my earlier, that meant to cull any deer that may have chronic wasting disease, but to my knowledge that has not yet shown up in the deer population in Connecticut.
Tom Falconieri March 25, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Elyse COYOTES normally do not hunt DEER. They hunt Fawns>> The deer are to big.
The Mirror March 27, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Speaking of honesty - how about answering this simple question honestly--the same question I asked above but you refused to address--Simple, if it could be shown conclusively that reducing deer populations would reduce the number of lyme cases, would you be in favor of culling the deer?
Leslie Yager March 27, 2012 at 12:48 PM
I went to a lecture by a veterinarian about Lyme disease and pets. She said, "Keep chickens."
Leslie Yager March 27, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Vet also said spray water sudsy with Ivory soap on the yard. It repels ticks and is safe. A spoonful of apple cider vinegar in dog's water also repels.
Elyse March 27, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Coyotes killed a deer in our yard and it was a 2-3 year old, although a month later did find a fawn leg by the road, so yes, they eat the little ones too. Basically a pack took the deer down as we definitely have more than one in the neighborhood...
Peter Cardini March 27, 2012 at 04:20 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303404704577305630267988716.html
Leslie Yager March 27, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Peter C, Very informative article that includes a shout-out for Time For Lyme's 5K RUN on April 29th.
Janet Lapey May 26, 2012 at 11:43 PM
It is amazing that some people love animals more than they love people. Given the fact that the incidence of Lyme Disease goes down when the deer population goes down, and given the horrific nature of this disease (mostly unknown by the public), the solution is getting rid of the deer.

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