Hopeful Strategy For Reducing The Spread Of Lyme

Hopeful Strategy For Reducing The Spread Of Lyme

A device called the “4-poster” Deer Treatment Bait Station,” developed and patented by scientists with the Agricultural Research Service, was highly effective at reducing the number of ticks infected with the Lyme disease bacterium in a six-year USDA study in five Northeastern states – Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island – where the disease is endemic.

Deer covered with ticksIf the 4-poster is used in areas where the disease is endemic, this should translate to a corresponding 71 percent decrease in Lyme disease cases, according to Durland Fish, a professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health and principal investigator for the project.

The effectiveness of the 4-poster ranged from 60 to 82 percent among the seven individual 2-square-mile study sites. The device is a bin that contains corn, with insecticide-laden paint rollers mounted at the bin’s corners.

When a deer – the primary carrier of the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, which carries the Lyme disease bacterium – inserts its muzzle into the bin to feed, it must rub its head, neck and ears against the insecticide-treated rollers.

When the deer subsequently grooms itself, the insecticide is spread enough to protect the animal’s entire body.

Developed by ARS scientists at the agency’s Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory in Kerrville, Texas, the 4-poster’s efficacy could be boosted to more than 90 percent by using newer, more effective insecticides that were not available at the start of the USDA study, according to J. Mathews Pound, an entomologist at the Kerrville laboratory and a co-investigator on the study.

Dr. Christopher Sun wrote recently about signs that have been posted in South Bay in Southern California! He wrote:

“Although the risk of infection is small in the South Bay, the potential consequences from Lyme disease (and other tick-borne diseases) are high. So it’s always wise to take precautions against tick bites, to protect yourself from a number of serious diseases. The ticks that carry Lyme disease are so tiny that you probably won’t even feel them or know you’ve been bitten, so you want to prevent their ability to bite you. Lyme disease can be very difficult to diagnose (tests are not as reliable as we’d like). Delayed diagnosis or inadequate treatment can lead to serious brain, heart and joint problems. For more information, see the brochure from the California Department of Public Health.  And to donate or purchase traps go to http://www.aldf.com/fourPoster2.shtml – I believe you must buy ten stations at a time, so getting your town or neighbors together to place an order is the way I plan to do it.

The Californians should be an example to us and inspire those of us physically strong enough to post some signs in our neighborhoods.  Education can be the difference between life and death.

Originally posted on

Update: I haven’t gotten to update my Lyme-free zones blog yet, but since I originally posted that, I have had a lot of feedback from many people I respect, and…well, as usual, I can think of many more things than I am capable of accomplishing!  I would love to get a fire going across the country from house to house, but I NEED to start with the 5 acres I live on.

I went outside last week and had a deer tick trying to bite me within 60 seconds of examining the winter kill in my small garden.  Tick tubes cost $75 at Amazon and I am overwhelmed at the thought of how much it all costs – YOU know, between the treatments and doctor appointments and special diet and organic everything…then there is the tick repellent for me, my family, my go and horses, then the prevention…well, luckily  Rotenone (36.8%Prometherin) 32oz is just under $32 at Amazon  and 300 cotton balls cost just $1.40 so I guess I’ll be making my own!

 

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