Fight heats up against Lyme, other tick-borne illnesses

As the temperature rises, so does the battle against Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

In Albany, the state Senate approved $1 million for research, education, prevention and treatment options and to fight the ongoing increase in the illnesses. Awaiting Assembly approval, the funding would be shared in the cause by Cornell University, New York State Association of County Health Officials, SUNY Adirondack, the state Department of Health, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and Cornell Cooperative Extension.

A measure introduced in the Assembly would set aside funds for research into a possible vaccine. Meanwhile, “eco-friendly” tick control treatments are targeted for certain public lands and the state is expanding the use of deer feeding stations that automatically apply tick treatment to deer as they eat. A new public awareness campaign is aimed at hunters, fishermen and hikers with tips on avoiding ticks. And private researchers are being recruited to collaborate on new medical tests to detect Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses.

Still, health officials warn nothing can replace people taking their own precautions. That includes avoiding areas where ticks are most prevalent like tall grassy areas, covering your legs and other exposed areas with clothing, and using effective tick repellants.

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