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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Ticks' Category


17
Jul

Virginia County Stops Pesticide Spraying in Favor of Alternatives to Combat Lyme Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2014) After years of struggling to combat the rise of Lyme disease in the region, Loudoun County, Virginia has decided to forgo the spraying of a hazardous pesticide in public parks in favor of public education and continued surveillance of park lands. Controversy over spraying arose back in 2012 when Loudoun began ramping its spray program to manage ticks, often the carrier of the disease. Loudon County used the pesticide Talstar, which contains the active ingredient bifenthrin, a neurotoxic chemical whose use raises public health and product efficacy concerns, as documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Beekeepers expressed concern that spraying would greatly damage their bee colonies, as bifenthrin is highly toxic to bees, while conservationists were concerned with the chemicals leaching into waterways and killing aquatic life. At the same time, some researchers point out that there was no evidence that spraying the chemical would reduce the number of Lyme disease infections. After years of debate and data analysis,  David Goodfriend, M.D., M.P.H, director of the Loudoun County Health Department, said that the county’s Lyme Disease Commission’s recommendation was to not spray any of the properties. The recommendation was based on two […]

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26
Aug

CDC Study Finds Pesticide Ineffective at Stopping the Spread of Lyme Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2013) A recent study presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)   at the International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis and other Tick-Borne Diseases in Boston finds that spraying lawns with the insecticide bifenthrin does not reduce the incidence of tick-borne diseases. The study could have important policy implications for towns and communities that are feeling pressure to spray as prevalence of tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, continue to rise.  There are least-toxic alternative management strategies that are effective and safer than chemical controls. The recently released study by CDC included 2,500 households in Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven Counties in Connecticut; Dutchess County in New York; and four counties in Maryland. Half of the households’ lawns were sprayed with bifenthrin and the other half was sprayed with water as a control. The study, conducted over two years, found that the households that were sprayed with bifentrhin saw a 60 percent reduction in ticks on their propriety but still had similar levels of tick encounters and tick-borne illnesses. These final results are similar to the results the study found after its first year.   This research reveals that using pesticides is not an […]

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31
May

Maryland Continues Pesticide Study Despite Warnings from Environmental Groups

(Beyond Pesticides, May 31, 2012) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have enrolled Maryland households in a study that involves spraying the controversial pesticide bifenthrinon their property to determine the efficacy of this approach in controlling Lyme disease. Now in the beginning of its second year, the study found no evidence in the first year that the spraying works to reduce the transmission of Lyme disease. Beyond Pesticides is concerned that study participants have not been provided complete information about bifenthrin’s potential health risks to people. According to the Baltimore Sun, the study is an effort to find new ways to combat the disease, which infected 1,600 people in Maryland in 2010. Half of the 185 families that have volunteered for the study will have water sprayed on their lawns to serve as a control group, while the other half will receive the bifenthrin treatment. The 185 families that have signed up so far this year get a $25 gift card, lowered from $40 given to the 440 participants last year. Last year, while the pesticide reduced the amount of ticks on treated lawns compared to the control group, […]

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12
Mar

Fungus-Derived Biopesticide Shows Promise Against Lyme Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, March 12, 2012) Research on a biopesticide derived from a strain of naturally occurring soil fungus has confirmed the material’s effectiveness at suppressing the most common variety of tick that spreads Lyme disease. Researchers from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station demonstrated a significant reduction in the number of blacklegged, or “deer” ticks, up to five weeks after the material’s application. The biopesticide’s active ingredient, which has been registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is derived from the fungus Metarhizium anisopliae. The researchers used two applications of the biopesticide approximately seven weeks apart and at two rates before measuring for blacklegged ticks. There was no significant difference in the number of tick nymphs after the first application compared to the control but both treatment rates showed significantly fewer nymphs both three and five weeks after the second application. During the third week after the second application, 87.1 and 96.1% fewer ticks were collected from lower and higher rate-treated sites, respectively, and after the fifth week, tick reductions were 53.2 and 73.8%, respectively. Data submitted as part of the registration process also indicates that the biopesticide is less toxic to humans and many non-target organisms than other products […]

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25
Aug

Lyme Disease ‘Epidemic’ Causes Stir on Maine Island

(Beyond Pesticides, August 25, 2011) A growth in tick populations and increase in Lyme disease rates over the past few years on an island in Maine have local health officials scrambling to find a solution to keep the problem at bay. So far this year there have been 20 official cases and over 20 suspected cases that have been treated with antibiotics on the island of Islesboro. In the past eight years, the health center has seen at least 69 cases of Lyme disease out of a population of 600, which according to Islesboro’s Tick-Borne Disease Prevention Committee, constitutes an epidemic. The blame for this ”˜epidemic’ has been largely attributed to deer, which serve as the tick’s primary host. There are about 500 deer on the 11-mile-long Island, making it almost as high as the human population. As such, one of the proposed solutions that residents are voting on is to allow gun hunting to reduce the deer herd from 48 to 10 deer per square mile. Unfortunately, though proposals of the prevention committee focus on prevention and include landscape modification in addition to management of deer and other wildlife, they also recommend the use of pesticides including repellants such […]

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