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.
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.
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 is now available at The Bay Area Lyme Foundation (www. bayarealymefoundation.org/ticktesting) 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.