Bellone: "Whether you live in Huntington or Hampton Bays, our goal is keep residents safe as we enter the final weeks of the summer season."
Suffolk County, NY - August 16, 2017 - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced a series of Tick Prevention Educational Forums that will be held by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services to inform residents of various tick-borne diseases and best practices to minimize contact with the tick population. A detailed presentation will be conducted by Suffolk County Health Services Entomologist Dr. Scott Campbell, who will be joined by Suffolk County Legislators and Dr. James Tomarken, Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services. Residents can also submit questions to Tick.Prevention@suffolkcountyny.gov to receive guidance from experts at the Department.
“At my direction, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services will undertake an educational campaign to remind the public of health risks associated with tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “Whether you live in Huntington or Hampton Bays, our goal is keep residents safe as we enter the final weeks of the summer season."
Dr. James Tomarken, Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services, said: “It is essential for everyone to take appropriate steps to protect themselves from tick-borne diseases. I encourage residents to attend these forums to learn how to stay safe, as always, seek prompt medical attention if becoming ill after a tick bite."
Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming said: “Tick-borne illness is a serious public health crisis in Suffolk County, particularly on the East End. Adequate funding, resources, and public outreach are critical to controlling the tick population and preventing the spread of disease. I am pleased to work with County Executive Steve Bellone on educating Suffolk County residents and tourists, and advancing the Tick Surveillance and Management Program.”
Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski said: “It is important to be hyper vigilant when hiking, or even recreating in one’s own backyard, and use the proper precautions to prevent contracting a tick-borne illness. The more information the public has, the better. Tick-borne illnesses are epidemic on the East End because the number of ticks has exploded over the last couple of decades due to do the over-population of white-tailed deer. At some point, we have to come to terms with the fact that we need to control the population of white-tail deer.”
Suffolk County Legislator Tom Muratore said: “The health and safety of our residents is top priority. It is important to educate the public on all tick-borne illnesses, especially with the abundant deer population in Suffolk County. I encourage all to attend this forum.”
Earlier this year, the County Legislature passed Capital Project 4091 that will provide funding to enhance the County’s Arthropod Borne Disease Laboratory which studies tick-borne and mosquito-borne pathogens. Under the direction of County Executive Bellone, the Suffolk County Department of Health, in collaboration with the New York State Department of Health, established a Tick Surveillance and Management Program, which conducts surveillance and monitors the tick population and tick-borne pathogens and provides local municipalities with best practices for tick management.
Suffolk County Legislator Fleming has also reassembled the Tick Control Advisory Committee to advise Suffolk County Department of Public Works, Division of Vector Control in developing a successful plan to reduce tick-borne illnesses in Suffolk County. The Committee has been reviewing tick control methods and management options, advising the TSMP, providing input to the annual vector control plans and is currently creating a plan to assist in public education and the dissemination of information regarding the prevention of tick-borne illnesses.
The series of tick prevention educational forums hosted by the Suffolk County Department of Health are as follows:
South Fork Forum
Monday, August 21 – 7:00 PM
Southampton Town Hall
Tuesday, August 22 – 7:00 PM
315 Main Street, 2nd Floor
Tuesday, September 5 – 7:00 PM
Middle Country Library
101 Eastwood Boulevard
North Fork Forum
Tuesday, September 5 – 7:00 PM
Peconic Recreational Center
1170 Peconic Lane
There are multiple types of tick-borne illnesses in Suffolk County including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis and ehrillichiosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are nearly 300,000 cases of Lyme disease reported on an annual basis across the country. Since it was first identified nearly 30 years ago, Lyme disease has continued to spread, particularly in the Northeastern and North-central regions of the United States.
For more information about ticks and tick-borne diseases, contact the Suffolk County Department of Health Services Public Health Hotline at 631-787-2200 or Tick.Prevention@suffolkcountyny.gov.