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Lyme Disease: 2012 Predicted to Be the Worst Year Yet

Due to warmer weather and the specific life cycle of the Ixodes hard tick, 2012 has been predicted to be the worst year when it comes to transmission of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.

If you are from Westchester, NY, or the Connecticut area you are probably aware that the spring and summer seasons are the most prevalent times of the year to contract Lyme disease. You’ll also recall that this past winter delivered a lot less snow and frequent high temperatures compared to the typical Northeast winter. While this was beneficial for safety on the roads and a lack of school cancellations, it is envisioned to be detrimental when it comes to the spread of Lyme disease.

In order for Lyme disease to thrive in a specific area, the geographical location must offer three things: ticks, deer and infected reservoirs such as small rodents. Deer are the mammals that ticks breed on. Although they are often covered head to toe with the arthropods, they are never infected. Borrelia Burgdorferi, the spirochete shaped bacteria that is responsible for Lyme, doesn’t actually survive in the blood of deer.

When an Ixodes tick hatches it is completely free of Borrelia Burgdorferi, even if its mother was infected with the spirochete. During this first stage of life, the tick is called a larva. In order for the larva to grow, it needs a blood meal. The larva acquires B. Burgdorferi when it feeds on something infected with the spirochete. In most cases, this is the mouse. Small rodents such as mice will carry the bacteria in their blood at all times if infected. It is estimated that 30 percent of mice are infected with Borrelia Burgdorferi.

After its blood meal, the larva tick molts into its next form. During the tick’s next stage of life it is referred to as a nymph. Nymph ticks will search for their blood meal most often during late spring and early fall or anytime the temperature is above approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit. During periods which provide these conditions, the nymph tick is very active and eager to feed. Nymph ticks will feed on practically anything they can get a hold of, and this is how humans become infected.

After the final molt, the nymph tick is now an adult. Although adults do feed, their main priority is to reproduce. This is where the end of the tick life cycle and beginning of the life cycle meet, which takes place as mentioned previously, on deer. The adult tick winds up back on the deer to lay its eggs and eventually dies off.

So why exactly is 2012 predicted to be the worst year for the spread of Lyme disease? The warmer weather in regards to the effects it has on the life cycle of the tick. A warm winter provided ample amounts of extra time for feeding and reproducing allowing the ticks to be active in spreading Lyme disease earlier in the year.

Be sure to protect yourself and check your body for ticks after spending time outside! And remember, Lyme disease is not the only infection that ticks transmit! For more information on the life cycle of ticks and more, check out this website:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/zoology/insects-arachnids/tick2.htm

For more information about Lyme disease, check out my past blog post:

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

mark June 15, 2012 at 09:44 PM
http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/prev/in_the_yard.html "Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked."
mark June 15, 2012 at 09:47 PM
http://www.bedfordny.info/html/pdf/whats_new/Lymedoc.pdf Strategies to Reduce Tick Abundance Keeping your yard tick-free: 1. Keep your yard clean of debris such as leaf litter and grass clippings and keep flower beds dry 2. Keep grass mowed, especially at the edges of the property
TickTickTick June 15, 2012 at 10:58 PM
call "retired" hunter (wink wink) and mulch maven Tim Downey.
Jerry Eimbinder June 16, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Who made the prediction?
Johanna Ruiz June 16, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Chickens and Guinea hens will take care of any tick problems in your yard.
Arthur Vandeleigh June 16, 2012 at 05:28 PM
god forbid, i bought my house here in Hastings. I worked to get where i am and buy my house. i don't want chickens and hens and deer and lower income income people around here, thank you very much.
Carl T June 16, 2012 at 05:48 PM
As a Hastings resident, I know one thing. If I contract Lyme disease this year, I am suing the village. They have not posted a single sign warning of ticks and lyme in any wooden area. Why?
mark June 16, 2012 at 06:51 PM
because they are being duped by Love em and Leave em. they want you mow your leaves into the lawn and dont want questions about increased tick habitats. Dont do it.
mark June 16, 2012 at 06:55 PM
People in Greenburgh and Irvington and Bedford need to call the town halls and tell them you are against this leaf mulching. flooding them with calls is all they understand
George of Irvington June 16, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Carl, it's because they are concerned with property values. The Mayor of Hastings visited Irvington a couple of years ago talking about what a health crisis Lyme is, it doesn't surprise me he has put up a single sign and places property values before residents safety.
mark June 16, 2012 at 07:23 PM
it is because they think its politically advantageous to fall in line with a group of know-nothing Master Gardeners who will campaign for them, make calls for them etc during elections (like in Bedford). Westchester is in the bulls eye of tick borne diseases. Approx 1k cases merge annually from here according to the Centers for Disease Control.
mark June 16, 2012 at 11:44 PM
http://www.fordham.edu/academics/office_of_research/research_centers__in/the_louis_calder_cen/fordham_tick_index_29785.asp
Stephanie Kellenberg June 18, 2012 at 03:10 PM
MArk Solomon is using fallacious arguements to promote moreof the god damn obnoxious leaf blower MANIA around Bedford and other towns. Leaf blowers and raking and neat lawns do not prevent ticks from transmitting lyme disease! Youare a bunch of ignorant lawn fanatics. The only proven way to prevent LYME is to check for and remove ticks every time you go outside or even into your car! Ticks are everywhere, and it is impossible to annihilate all of them . The mice inside your house can bring them inside. Youthink you dont have mice-you do at night behind your walls! Dont promote leaf blowers! Leaf blowers and the people who use them are obnoxious and should be "bl own away". Pesticides will give you cancer, so don't poison your neighobrs well water with tick SPRAYING! The only thing you lazy lawn fanatics have to do is check for ticks, which is safe and NOT OBNOXIOUS!
Carmela Bonito June 19, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Many disease ecologists and researchers are putting out articles and information with such predictions and suggestions.
Carmela Bonito June 25, 2012 at 08:17 PM
This just in: http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/160257615.html#!page=1&pageSize=10&sort=newestfirst
It'sABloodyPromisingDevelopment June 25, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Mayor Swiderski, Squirrels carry ticks!!! Quick kill all the squirrels!!! The Mayor of Hastings can be trusted about as far as you can throw him. http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/160257615.html#!page=1&pageSize=10&sort=newestfirst

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