To the editor:
Spring is here and soon we will all be outdoors enjoying the beauty of Essex County and Newburyport in particular. It is time to think about Lyme disease. Lyme disease has the potential for causing lasting or chronic problems.
Lyme disease is caused by a tick bite. Since it was discovered in the late ‘70s, the incidence of Lyme disease has increased dramatically. This prevalence of this disease is concentrated heavily in the Northeast and upper Midwest. Last year in Essex County alone there were over 1,300 confirmed new cases of Lyme disease (Centers for Disease Control [CDC], 2012). The peak incidence for the onset of Lyme disease in the eastern United States occurs during the summer months of June, July and August.
Some simple and inexpensive practices can greatly reduce the risk of a tick bite. The use of repellents, wearing protective clothing and regularly checking for and removing attached ticks is important for anyone who lives in this area.
More detailed information may be found on the CDC Lyme Disease website http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/resources/index.html. I strongly encourage your readers to take advantage of this information.
In our community, there are many people working to increase awareness around Lyme disease. I would like to thank the Newburyport Health Department and Katie Lovett for reporting on the Health Department’s annual Lyme Disease Prevention Project for the past two years.