The Health Department of Vermont has unveiled a new weapon in Lyme disease prevention: the Tick-Tracker. Shifting the focus to the public, Vermont HD wants you to record your tick encounters as part of a wider effort to raise awareness of the presence of infected ticks in the local environment. With maps and retroactive reporting, this website could prompt other states to launch their own crowdsourced approach to combating Lyme disease.
The new website also boasts information about tick-borne diseases, including common co-infections of Lyme disease such as Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis, as well as top tips on how to prevent tick bites. Reporting a tick is pretty easy and your report instantly shows up on a community-sourced map so that your neighbours, relatives, friends and colleagues can all be helped to be on guard against Lyme disease from tick bites.
Identify Your Tick
The Tick-Tracker allows you to add in known deer ticks, Lone Star ticks, dog ticks, and also ticks of unknown status or ‘other.’ Help with tick identification is available on the site so even if you’re unsure as to what bit you or what kind of tick crawled up your pant leg whilst hiking, you can check the tick against reference images and ask for further help with identification. As of the time of writing, there were several instances of infected ticks noted at Middletown Springs in Vermont, with comments stating that at least one of these bites resulted in Lyme disease. Monkton appears to be another hotspot for ticks in Vermont right now, with many ticks noted on people, clothing, gear and on pets.
Taking Precautions Against Tick Bites
If you’re thinking of heading out on a hike with the pup, kids, by yourself, or with a group then you can quickly look up the area on the new Vermont Tick-Tracker generated map and see how active they tick population seems to be right now. That way you know whether it’s wise to take extra precautions against ticks, above and beyond the usual tick bite prevention strategies such as wearing long-legged pants, long sleeves, light coloured clothing and using tick repellent.
Lyme Disease Ticks Active Right Now
With adult ticks mostly active in the fall it’s likely that a whole load of reports will come in over the next few weeks, but it’s not too late to report a tick bite from the fall either. Deer ticks, those that carry Lyme disease bacteria, are now the most commonly spotted tick in Vermont, and 2011 was a bumper year for the infection as over 500 reports were filed for patients most likely contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite within Vermont. Last year saw 367 reports of Lyme disease, and the hope is that this year’s figures also drop as more people help raise awareness through the use of Vermont’s new Tick-Tracker.
Found a tick in Vermont? Add it to the Tick-Tracker!