Health & Environment

Tick expert to speak in East Marion this weekend

DANIEL GILREIN COURTESY PHOTO | A blacklegged tick, otherwise known as the deer tick.

In an attempt to further educate the public on Southold Town’s battle against an escalating deer population, the East Marion Community Association is presenting a public forum on tick borne diseases this weekend.

In September, Southold Town hosted a deer forum outlining the many dangers of overpopulation on the North Fork. One of the most starling dangers was the rise in tick borne illness, according to Supervisor Scott Russell.

“The deer infestation on the North Fork is on of the biggest public health crises we have,” Mr. Russell said. “I’m not sure if everyone understands that on the state level and other branches of government. It’s one of the biggest single health crises we have because of tick borne illness. Ticks present a problem in their own right, but deer are excellent hosts. They are able to move the ticks and disease through out the entire community. Thrombosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease; these are big health risks and I think they are far more widespread than other agencies might think.“

Estimates reported this past summer suggest that the number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease nationwide is roughly 10 times higher than the yearly reported number, due to misdiagnoses and unreported illnesses.

This Saturday’s seminar will feature Dr. Rajeev Fernando, an infectious disease specialist from Southampton Hospital, who will discuss tick-borne diseases prevalent on the North Fork.

Gerald T. Simons, author of the “From the Expert” series in the Lyme Times, will also be on hand to provide information gathered by The Tick Borne Disease Alliance.

The forum is Saturday, Nov. 16 at 10 a.m. at the East Marion Fire house. The event is free and opened to the public.