Lyme disease cases nearly double in Rockland

Excerpted from  ( Posted: 09/18/2010 )

The number of Lyme disease cases in Rockland nearly doubled for the first half of this year compared with last, according to records kept by the county Department of Health.

Experts can’t really explain the rise, other than to note that they did find a lot of adult ticks in the county during studies done by the state last fall —leading to more baby ticks this year.

The baby or nymph ticks are the ones that are so tiny that they are hard to see, making it more likely that they can remain on the skin undetected long enough to transmit Lyme disease, said Bryon Backensen, director of the vector surveillance unit at the state Department of Health.

The vector surveillance unit works with health officials in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam to track Lyme disease and the ticks that transmit it.

“We are collecting information so we can keep abreast of Lyme disease,” he said.

Researchers noted that there appeared to be a large number of adult ticks in the area during the fall, Backensen said. Those ticks have laid eggs by now that have developed into a bumper crop of young ticks.

“Based on what we have seen in the past, we would expect to see more nymph ticks this year,” Backensen said.

The Rockland Department of Health traced 302 Lyme cases through July of this year , compared with 167 during the same period a year before.

Lyme disease rates appear to be holding steady or decreasing in Westchester.

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~ by Rob on September 18, 2010.

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