Health & Environment

Suffolk’s tick control committee meets for the first time Wednesday

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

Suffolk’s planning efforts to reduce tick-borne diseases across the county officially starts Wednesday.

That’s when the newly formed tick advisory committee meets for the first time. The 12-member group, made up of health experts, environmentalists,  local and county government officials and others, meets at 11 a.m. at the County Center in Riverside.

The committee will advise the county’s vector control division, which is traditionally charged with controlling mosquito infestations but whose yearly plans will now include a section on reducing tick-borne illnesses.

“Ticks and the diseases they transmit are clearly a problem in Suffolk County and in many regions of our country,” said Dominick Ninivaggi, director of the county’s vector control division. “We are researching what is needed to better understand the problem and what we can do from a practical point of view to address the issue.”

Mr. Ninivaggi noted that any tick control efforts will have to pass through environmental reviews.

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

The county Legislature approved legislation forming the committee in early March. The resolution was introduced by Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk), whose South Fork constituents are highly exposed to tick populations and tick-borne illnesses, as are those on the North Fork and elsewhere.

The committee legislation came months after the Legislature in October directed vector control to come up with a tick-control plan.

“A primary function of government is to protect the health and welfare of residents of Suffolk County,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “This committee will help vector control develop a plan to reduce the incidence of Lyme disease and other tick borne illnesses.”

The meeting is open to the public and will be held in the Evans K. Griffing building’s legislative auditorium. Click for directions.

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