• Acton Beacon - July 2, 2009
  • Acton Forum - August 15, 2009
  • Lyme Disease in Acton

    Lyme disease
    is a rapidly growing disease caused primarily by the deer tick. Nationally, reported cases have more than doubled since 1992. In states where Lyme is most common, such as Massachusetts, the rate is 34.7 per 100,000. Many cases go unreported.

    Many people are unaware of the seriousness of Lyme disease. Early manifestations present flu like symptoms together with depression. Left untreated, late manifestations involving the joints, heart and nervous system can occur.

    Children, gardeners and people who enjoy outdoor activities are most at risk.

    It is imperative that we inform our citizenry of the cause, symptoms, treatment and most importantly the ways to protect ourselves from this disease.The Acton GArden Club is partnering with the Town of Acton Board of Health to increase public awareness regarding the cause, prevention, and treatment of Lyme disease including exploring regional options for reduction of deer populations.

    Tick-Borne Disease Education

    The Acton Garden Club promotes Lyme Disease and other Tick-Borne Disease Awareness month in May at its Annual Plant Sale with our Lyme Disease Exhibit and by wearing lime green ribbons and passing out Tick ID Cards. We also have tick tubes for sale at a discount in conjunction with the Acton Health Dept. Tick tubes have been 95% effective in a 7 year study. Former Governor Patrick declared MA in a health crisis due to Lyme Disease. The CDC has reported that there are 300,000 new cases of Lyme Disease annually in the US.

    Black-legged ticks or Ixodes Scapularis/deer ticks can carry multiple tick-borne diseases, together or separately. Some need separate tests and drugs. The borrelia bacteria/Lyme Disease is a cousin to syphilis.
      Diseases/Co-infections in the Northeast include:
    • Babesiosis which is malaria like and needs a separate test and medication. The Red Cross now can test for it before you give blood. Once you have it you can never give blood again. There is no definitive test for Lyme Disease.
    • Anaplasmosis/Erlichiosis is treated with 2 weeks of doxycycline, so if you are being treated for Lyme, it is covered.
    • Bartonella is sometimes called Cat Scratch Fever. Most often there are neurological symptoms. It is one of the hardest infections to treat.
    • Bartonella is sometimes called Cat Scratch Fever. Most often there are neurological symptoms. It is one of the hardest infections to treat.
    • Tularemia is epidemic on Martha’s Vineyard. It is a respiratory illness and comes from a dog tick.
    • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever also comes from a dog tick, and we are starting to see more of it.
    • Powassan is a virus. Encephalitis develops. The transmission from the tick can be within 15 minutes. There is no treatment, only supportive care.
    • Miyamotoi looks like Lyme, acts like Lyme but it isn’t Lyme. It appears to pass directly from infected eggs to larvae without the ticks needing to feed on an infected host.

    Lone Star tick is coming north from the Southeast US. It injects a sugar into the bloodstream that can cause a rash, itching and severe swelling of the tongue and throat after you eat red meat.

    Deet repels ticks and permethrin kills them. Permethrin treated clothing is very effective. After being in the woods or your yard, strip all clothing and put in the dryer for 15-20 min on high heat. Washing does not kill ticks. Shower and check yourself carefully every night.

    Free Tick Testing FREE TICK TESTING is now available at The Bay Area Lyme Foundation (www. for anyone in the U.S. By sending in your tick, you will be participating in a citizen science project and national tick-collection/testing effort whereby scientists can compare past and potential distributions of ticks and tick-borne disease.

    The tick can be dead or alive and preferably sent within 72 hours in a small Ziploc baggie with a damp piece of paper towel or cotton ball in a small padded envelope along with with the free tick testing order form. You will receive an email identifying the species with positive and negative disease results within approximately 21 days. It may help with diagnosis and treatment decisions and there will be a map made of the information. The shared data is completely anonymous. This is the first large such study and it will help all of us. FOUND and UNATTACHED ticks can also be sent to gather more information.

    Ticks will be tested for 6 pathogens: Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme Disease; Borrelia miyamotoi, which causes tick-borne relapsing fever; Anaplasma phagocytophilum, which causes human granulocytic anaplasmosis; Ehrlichia chafeensis, which causes human monocytic erhlichiosis, and Rickettsia rickettsii, the agent of Rocky-mountain spotted fever, and the protozoan pathogen, Babesia microti. Tick testing is highly accurate through the use of PCR DNA tests although no test is 100%.

    The Dean Center at Spaulding Rehabilitation in Charlestown, MA. opened last fall, 2015 to diagnose and treat Lyme Disease, especially the chronic form.

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  • Upcoming Lyme Disease Events


    Lyme Disease Resources

    Town of Acton Website:
  • Lyme Disease Fact Sheet
  • Tick Management Handbook for Homeowners

  • Lyme Disease Association Website:
  • The ABCs of Lyme Disease

  • CDC Website:
  • Lyme Disease Diagnosis

  • Massachusetts State Website:
  • Tick Identification Card
  • Frequently Asked Questions

  • American Lyme Disease Foundation Website:
  • Lyme transmission rates
  • What is Lyme Disease
  • Bay Area Lyme Foundation Website:
  • Bay Area Lyme Foundation
  • **** Free tick testing ****

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