The CDC and state agencies are tracking a new and potentially fatal tick-borne virus, adding to an already significant threat from mosquitoes and ticks in New England that Environmental Health Services, Inc. is working to counter with environmentally responsible treatments.
Norwood, MA, April 15, 2017: A continuing and significant health and safety threat exists from vector borne diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, there are at least 10 mosquito borne diseases and over a dozen tick-borne diseases. New England has seen mainly EEE and West Nile Virus, as well as other types of Encephalitis and even Malaria and Denguee Fver from mosquitoes. Tick-borne diseases are the most commonly seen Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, having shown up just a few years ago and causing 12 deaths per year in 18 states, and a new potentially deadly illness that has shown up in Connecticut called the Powassan Virus. The CDC reports there have now been 65 cases of Powassan Virus confirmed in the US, with 5 cases in Massachusetts that have all occurred within the past two years. A recent study by a group of Connecticut researchers found a higher number of ticks following winters with heavy snow cover, said Rick Ostfeld, an ecologist who has been studying ticks for two decades at the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies of Millbrook, New York. "We know snow insulates," he said, "So it makes sense that it would be protective for ticks.”.
Precautions that minimize risk include limiting skin exposure, utilizing store bought insect repellents, and avoiding areas where tick and mosquito infestations most frequently occur. Richard Pollack, PhD, Public Health Entomologist at the Harvard School of Public Health says “time is of the essence” in preventing tick attachment and disease risk. “A daily check can prevent this, so everyone in the family should be like little chimpanzees and look for them.” he said. Chemical pesticides are commonly used for mosquito and tick control but there are risks to people and pets associated with the active ingredients in these products as well as the unwanted consequence of killing of non-target beneficial insects. Some of these insects help control garden pests, many are pollinators, and some, such as the dragonfly and damselfly, actually help control mosquito populations. Chemical pesticides also leave behind residue and sprays can drift off target creating a significant risk of coming into contact with non-target organisms such as children and pets.
An effective alternative is organic pest control, which is not persistent in the environment and is completely non-toxic to people and pets. It utilizes naturally occurring essential plant oils and have proven efficacy against target pests, reducing their threat by as much as 92%, with no adverse effects on humans, the environment or non-target insects and wildlife. This type is treatment is a preferred method at EHS, a company focused on eco-sensitive pest solutions.