Suffolk will begin countywide talks on ticks

A Tick Bite Prevention Education Campaign has been outlined by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, aimed at helping school-age children in summer camps and other outdoor programs about preventive measures they can take to reduce the risk of tick bites. 

As part of the campaign, Suffolk County health department staff will be holding Tick-Talk presentations throughout the summer at more than 20 libraries countywide, several which will take place on the East End. Lead by Dr. Scott Campbell, chief of the Suffolk Department of Health’s Arthropod Disease Laboratory in Yaphank, participants will learn about the variety of ticks found in Suffolk County, the diseases caused by them, protective measures that prevent bites, proper tick removal techniques and steps to take if bitten.

Bellone also announced the expansion of SuffolkSHARE, a public health partnership comprised of towns and municipalities in Suffolk that share costs and resources in the ongoing battle against ticks.

“This shared services initiative is another example of how local governments can leverage their resources to address a regional public health issue,” Bellone said in a statement.

Suffolk County Department of Public Works has proposed legislative approval of a $280,000 mitigation project at Indian Island County Park in Riverhead, in which measures would be studied, data collected, and information shared with participating towns and villages to create and refine best practices and activities relating to ticks, according to a press release.

The program additionally is introducing a 311 phone line aimed at providing up-to-date information to callers on tick avoidance, protection and tips on how to respond to bites. The service will serve as a hub for tick-related information, and data collected about tick activity from the 311 line will be shared with local governments.

Talks will take place at Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library on Tuesday, July 23, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Southold Free Library on Thursday, August 1, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Call the libraries to pre-register.