Wednesday, 15 May 2019 07:20

Public Program on Lyme Disease May 23 at Cayuga Community College

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Public Program on Lyme Disease May 23 at Cayuga Community College Supplied photo

The Oswego County Health Department will host a program on ticks and tick-borne diseases at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at Cayuga Community College, Fulton.

Dr. Stephen M. Rich, Professor of Microbiology and Director of the Laboratory of Medical Zoology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, will present a public forum on “Ticks and Tick-borne Disease: Preventing Lyme and other Tick-borne Disease in Oswego County.”

The program will take place in the student center, storefront room 21, at Cayuga Community College, 11 River Glen Drive, Fulton.

Ticks are second only to mosquitoes as transmitters of human disease. They harbor and transmit various pathogens, including viruses and bacteria, to humans and animals. A well-known and increasingly prevalent tick-borne disease in central New York in recent years is Lyme disease.

“In Oswego County, the number of confirmed Lyme disease cases among residents increased from 34 in 2012 to 189 in 2017,” said Jiancheng Huang, Oswego County Public Health Director.

Dr. Rich will provide an overview of the hazards and risks associated with ticks. Although the risk of Lyme and other diseases has increased since the disease was first reported in the 1970s, and the list of germs transmitted by these ticks has grown long, there are ways of significantly reducing exposures to these diseases. Dr. Rich will explain these hazards and describe appropriate personal protective measures that can greatly reduce risk of exposure.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Rich spend time with us while he is in the area visiting friends and family. His presentation is open to the public with ample opportunity for questions from the audience,” said Huang.

Ticks do not jump or fly. They sit on grass, in brush or hide deep in the fur of wild animals and wait for opportunities to crawl to human and domestic animals. The best personal protection against tick-borne disease is to prevent tick bites.

Dr. Rich is a native of Watertown, NY, attended Immaculate Heart Central High School and earned a B.S. in biology at St. Lawrence University. He went on to post-graduate study at the University of Vermont (M.S.) and Harvard University, and earned a PhD at the University of California (Irvine). He has more than 50 publications on disease-causing microbes transmitted by ticks and mosquitoes and has received numerous awards for his research.

His laboratory revolutionized tick-borne disease surveillance and risk assessment with the crowd-sourced TickReport testing program.

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