Deer in town bring ticks

Pictou-Advocate-opinion

To the Editor:

The number of deer in urban areas is growing to the extent that more deer are seen in town than in rural areas. There are people who are very concerned with an over abundance of deer in our town. Many citizens, in particular, parents of little ones, need to know that ticks can be lurking around on their lawns and flower beds. It seems to me if they haven’t experienced the devastating consequences of Lyme disease, they feel that they don’t have to worry and become very complacent. It will happen to someone else. I talk with people who say they see deer every day in town. The lack of flowers on many lawns is proof they are constantly in our neighbourhoods.

Do not intentionally feed deer in town. It is important to know that bird feeders will attract deer to your yard. Bird feeders can be placed at a height out of reach of deer or can be brought in in the evening. During this time of year the ticks are mating, taking a blood meal and dropping off into the environment where they will lay their eggs. The thousands of eggs will hatch in the spring thus starting a new life cycle that could be located in your yard.

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Lyme advocates are fighting for better testing and treatment in Canada. The ticks are often referred to as a dirty needle and carry many more diseases, not just Lyme. Lyme is called the great imitator and is often undiagnosed/misdiagnosed. If you have been labelled with a condition or syndrome that is not definitive or have been told you have numerous conditions with no known origin it would be wise to be checked for Lyme and other co-infections. The chances are you will be told you cannot have Lyme and or that Lyme is not here. Wrong answer! Speak to the veterinarians; if our pets can have Lyme so can we.

Lyme is a zoonosis, a vector borne disease. The National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) takes a One Health approach recognizing that the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment. The goal of One Health is to encourage the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines — working locally, nationally and globally — to achieve the best health for people, animals and our environment. A One Health approach is important because six out of every ten infectious diseases in humans are spread from animals. The CDC, using the One Health approach and working with physicians, veterinarians, ecologists and many others will be able to monitor and control public health threats and to learn about how diseases spread among people, animals and the environment.

There are many who are sick, have all negative tests and are still sick. Doctors are often unwilling to consider the possibility of a vector borne illness, ie Lyme, and will not test. Things must change. Please consider contacting your MLA, MP and the new federal Minister of Health.

Canadians are waiting for change. Education is KEY!

Brenda Sterling-Goodwin

New Glasgow