County Legislature approves creation of tick advisory committee

A female deer tick on a leaf. (Credit: Daniel Gilrein)
A female deer tick on a leaf. (Credit: Daniel Gilrein)

The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution creating a tick control advisory committee to help the county’s division of vector control reduce the spread of tick-borne illnesses.

Sponsored by Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk), the new legislation was passed on March 4 and builds on a bill previously passed in October that requires county vector control, which has focused mainly on mosquito populations, to create an annual plan to combat the abundance of ticks and the spread of tick borne disease, like Lyme Disease.

The plan will outline work to be done, how work will be accomplished, and create methodology to determine the program’s effectiveness, according to the bill.

“A primary function of government is to protect the health and welfare of residents of Suffolk County,” said Mr. Schneiderman, who also sponsored the prior bill.

The committee will consist of 12 members, including representatives from the Department of Health Services, the Division of Vector Control, Suffolk County Parks, environmental and health experts and a representative from the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association.

Health experts have reported a dramatic increase in tick-borne disease diagnosis in recent years, with upwards of 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease being reported each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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