Visit to Lyme in Connecticut

The history of Lyme disease in Connecticut started in 1975 when a cluster of adults and children started to suffer uncommon arthritic symptoms;, this is a letter sent to directors of health in the area at the time https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Departments-and-Agencies/DPH/dph/infectious_diseases/lyme/1976circularletterpdf.pdf?la=en. The condition was named after the area it was discovered, although it is thought the disease existed in Europe long before 1975 but had not been identified.

 By 1977, the first 51 cases of Lyme arthritis were described, and the Ixodes scapularis (black-legged) tick was linked to the transmission of the disease. During 1982, Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, was discovered by William Burgdorferi he found spirochetes—a type of slim, spiral bacteria—in the midguts of deer ticks prevalent in the forests near where the infections were occurring. With further laboratory testing, he and colleagues found that the bacteria, passed to humans via tick bites and were causing the mysterious Lyme disease, which is now recognized as the most common tick-borne illness in both the EU and USA.

I managed to visit two of the areas In common with a lot of New England they are beautiful areas, tree lined streets

And houses surrounded by vegetation

There are not many fences to define areas/yards and houses that have forested areas behind the house develop an area around their plot to inhibit ticks the layer is dry and not hospitable to ticks

We went dragging for ticks in lyme.

Maine Medical Research Centre Protocol for Questing tick survey

Materials

This method of surveying for ticks, at its most basic, doesn’t require much in the way of technology. Much of the literature describes a tick flag or drag as being a piece of cloth attached to a pole and spread over the ground as the surveyor walks. Many studies record the use of either a heavy flannel or corduroy as the material to construct flags with. These two fabrics in many ways mimic the hair of a mammalian host that the tick might be seeking (flannel because of the fine hairs, corduroy because of the ribbing). In our studies, although we do occasionally use flannel, corduroy has proven to be more effective simply because it seems more durable in the field, especially after the fabric gets wet. 

The general size of the flag is ~ 1 meter square.

Other items that are handy to have are a GPS unit for marking collections and a thermometer, which might be kept nearby for recording temperature while surveying.

Methods

To flag for ticks, one must first aim for collections on a day for good weather. Although the particulars for each tick species are different, these instructions, although general enough for common ticks, will focus on deer ticks, the vector of Lyme disease. Flagging for any species of ticks doesn’t generally work during the rain or when temperatures are above 35c or below 10c. Likewise, days with lower wind generally produced better results. Higher winds desiccate ticks and lift the flag from the ground, where ticks might be found. Be sure to maximize the season to your advantage as well. Figure 1 illustrates the seasons of deer ticks in Maine but generally, nymphs have a seasonal peak of late June to mid- July while adult ticks tend to peak mid-late October.

and here is a container with some of the ticks we collected… You have to play the video for the full effect …..its only 9 seconds.

I have already mentioned Japanese Barberry as one of the non native plant species that ticks get shelter from. The area we dragged in was full of it

It was really prickly and difficult to wade through and my legs bare the scars and marks where it penetrated.

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