‘Workin on it

I wear tick-repellant clothing when I know I am going to be well exposed to ticks, e.g. conducting natural history observations amongst tall grass on the south shore of NS.
Such clothing is recommended by Health Canada when we travel to malaria countries, and is worn by our military but is not registered for sale in Canada.

I have been concerned about ticks/lyme for some time. I maintained a website under the domain name noticks.ca for several years, it is still available at http://versicolor.ca/noticks/ but it has not been updated since mid-2016. It contains info and links to info about preventing tick bites, and about the life history of the black-legged tick.

For a period I campaigned to have tick-repellent, permethrin-treated clothing available in Canada, also permethrin based personal insecticides. The former still has not happened, but Icaridin based personal insect repellents have been available for a couple of years, I believe since 2015. They began to appear in local drugstores in 2017 – at least that’s when I first saw them. They are much more effective and less hazardous than DEET based insect repellents.

Some more recent stuff:

Thousands more people suffer from Lyme disease than reported: study
Andrew Rankin in the Chronicle Herald oct 19, 2018. “The number of people with Lyme disease in Nova Scotia could be as much as 30 times higher than government statistics show, says a new national peer-reviewed report co-authored by a Mount Allison University tick expert.” View research paper, Under-Detection of Lyme Disease in Canada – by Vett K. Lloyd and Ralph G. Hawkins in Healthcare Oct 15, 2018.

UMaine researchers get $1.17M to help protect forest workers from tick-borne illnesses
Mainebiz, July 19, 2018
The team plans to conduct applied ecological research to understand the impact of timber harvesting on risk of exposure to tick-borne diseases…By integrating natural and social science research, extension and education, the team aims to develop and test adaptive land management practices to protect private forest owners, foresters and loggers against exposure to tick-borne diseases…”Our forest management decisions can have dramatic effects on the abundance and behavior of vertebrate hosts of tick-borne pathogens and also the abiotic conditions that influence tick survival during the large proportion of the tick life cycle spent off-host,” Gardner says. “Because our state is dominated by forest land cover, it is important that Mainers understand the numerous ecosystem services provided by healthy forests, including buffering zoonotic disease transmission.”

Chief medical officer: Don’t use pesticides to protect property from ticks
Andrew Rankin for Chronicle Herald, July 12, 2018. “While the province’s tick population continues to balloon, the province’s chief medical officer of health is advising homeowners against using pesticides to protect their property from the disease-carrying parasites. Dr. Robert Strang’s recommendation comes in response to a North American pest control company launching a residential pesticide spraying program recently in Nova Scotia.”

In relation to the above article and use of deer bait stations, see The effectiveness of permethrin-treated deer stations for control of the Lyme disease vector Ixodes scapularis on Cape Cod and the islands: a five-year experiment
Jason S Grear et al. 2014 Parasites and Vectors. 2014; 7: 292. “Relative to controls, blacklegged tick abundance at treated sites was reduced by approximately 8.4%, which is considerably less than in previous 4-poster studies. …The relatively modest effect of 4-posters on tick abundance in this five-year experiment, compared to larger effects seen in other studies, can possibly be explained by landscape characteristics, deer density and vertebrate host community composition in our study area, and the density of 4-poster stations we deployed. An important management implication is that the role of deer in the Lyme disease system may be more complicated than previously expected. It is important to weigh this possibility against concerns from the wildlife management community about the effects of wildlife provisioning and increased social contact between wildlife visitors at the 4-poster stations (e.g., wildlife disease transmission). This means that 4-posters deserve further study, experimental application, and refinement, but do not represent a low cost ‘silver bullet’ in the control of Lyme disease except perhaps under specific circumstances that remain to be identified. This is unsurprising given the complexity of the Lyme disease ecological system. 4-posters should be considered part of a broader suite of strategies, the most sustainable of which in the long term will embrace the strong linkages between ecological health and human disease risk and will support the differing mandates of environmental stewardship, wildlife management, and public health organizations.”

Evaluation of the SELECT Tick Control System (TCS), a Host-Targeted Bait Box, to Reduce Exposure to Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) in a Lyme Disease Endemic Area of New Jersey
Terry L. Schulze et al., 2017. Journal of Medical Entomology, Volume 54, Issue 4, 1 July 2017, Pages 1019–1024. View Finally! A Way Homeowners Can Control Ticks That Spread Lyme Disease by Cynthia Wallentine 2017 for a popularreport on the above study.

Why finding a solution to control Lyme disease isn’t simple
PBS news, 2017

NS Lyme Disease Counts by Zone 2016
NS Government. Confirmed cases 2016 Central 4.9/100,000; Eastern 0/100,000, Northern 4.1/100,000, Western 66.9/100,000
Also available: Lyme Disease Counts by Age Group 2016 and Lyme Disease Counts by Sex 2016

Ticks, Permethrin and Canadian hypocrisy
Brain Patton on http://canadianrockiestrailguide.com/, April 17, 2017. “In the northeastern U.S., where Lyme disease has been rampant for over a decade, people have been defending themselves with permethrin-treated clothing. In the past few years, there has been an explosion of factory-treated products on the market, including shirts, pants, socks, hats, gaiters, hoodies, bandanas and neck gaiters. But not in Canada”

New study confirms efficacy of permethrin-treated clothing against tick bites
Healio . Infectious Disease News, June 3, 2018

Forest ecology shapes Lyme disease risk in the eastern US
Science Daily, July 9, 2018 “In the eastern US, risk of contracting Lyme disease is higher in fragmented forests with high rodent densities and low numbers of resident fox, opossum, and raccoons. These are among the findings from an analysis of 19 years of data on the ecology of tick-borne disease in a forested landscape.” The scientific paper cited: Richard S. Ostfeld et al. 2018 Tick-borne disease risk in a forest food web. Ecology 99(7), 2018, pp. 1562–1573.

Illnesses on the rise From mosquito, tick, and flea bites
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention May 2018. “lmost everyone has been bitten by a mosquito, tick, or flea. These can be vectors for spreading pathogens (germs). A person who gets bitten by a vector and gets sick has a vector-borne disease, like dengue, Zika, Lyme, or plague. Between 2004 and 2016, more than 640,000 cases of these diseases were reported, and 9 new germs spread by bites from infected mosquitoes and ticks were discovered or introduced in the US. State and local health departments and vector control organizations are the nation’s main defense against this increasing threat. Yet, 84% of local vector control organizations lack at least 1 of 5 core vector control competencies. Better control of mosquitoes and ticks is needed to protect people from these costly and deadly diseases.”

Ticks rising
On aeon.ca, Apr 2, 2018. “In a warming world, ticks thrive in more places than ever before, making Lyme disease the first epidemic of climate change”

Ticks are really digging in on the South Shore
Published May 19, 2018 – 5:00am

Lyme disease continues to affect Nova Scotians
Andrew Rankin for Chr Herald May 28

Public health failing to address Lyme disease crisis, says author
Andrew Rankin for the Chronicle Herald, June 3, 2018

Governor Cuomo Announces Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Control Plan
Albany, NY, May 15, 2018 Thx JMS

Statement for Managing Lyme Disease in Nova Scotia
Infectious Diseases Expert Group (IDEG), Department of Health and Wellness

Reported cases of Lyme disease in Nova Scotia expected to reach new high
Steve Silva for Global News, May 8, 2018

Tale of the Tick: How Lyme Disease is Expanding Northward
by Dave Mance III in Northern Woodlands, March 1, 2008. A very readable description of the life cycle of the black-legged tick and factors affecting its abundance and the occurrence of the microorganism that causes Lyme disease.

Tick Management Handbook (PDF)
“An integrated guide for homeowners, pest control operators, and public health officials for the prevention of tick-associated disease.” (2004)

Managing Ticks on Your Property (PDF).
Prepared by Kirby C. Stafford III, Ph.D. (March 2005) Shorter version of the doc above. The Connecticut Agricultural Exp eriment Station. Unfortunately some of the products suggested are NOT available in Canada.

The emergence of Lyme disease in Canada
NH Ogden et al.,CMAJ June 09, 2009 180 (12) 1221-1224

Multiflora rose invasion amplifies prevalence of Lyme disease pathogen, but not necessarily Lyme disease risk
Solny A. Adalsteinsson et al., 2018. Parasites & Vectors 2018, 11:54

In the tick of it
Sandra Phinney in Saltscapes Living Healthy in Atlantic Canada, Spring/Summer 2018. Local context, researchers etc cited.

Nova Scotia’s top doctor sees no end to spread of Lyme disease

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