Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman of Montauk says that though the county’s Division of Vector Control was created to fight both mosquito- and tick-borne illness, it has only focused its attention on mosquitoes — but he plans to change that with new legislation.
The bill, co-sponsored by Schneiderman and Legislator Al Krupski of Cutchogue, requires Vector Control to submit a yearly plan to reduce the incidence of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases. The division will have to tap into its $2.5 million annual budget.
“The county has done a good job preventing West Nile, but needs to step up efforts to reduce Lyme disease,” Schneiderman said.
“Lyme disease is an epidemic on the east end of Long Island,” Krupski added. “Most of us have been impacted in some way by tick-borne disease. Suffolk County needs to play an active role to control this growing health problem.”
Schneiderman said the county must take a leadership role, as towns and village struggle to combat Lyme disease. The proposed mandatory annual plan must report efforts to control the tick population, the methods that will be employed, and methodologies for measuring the effectiveness.
In addition to Lyme disease, the legislation also targets Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis and ehrlichiosis, all of which are transmitted by ticks.
Schneiderman noted that Shelter Island and North Haven have been exploring the 4-Poster system, which employs a passive bait station that applies pesticides to deer.