Martha’s Vineyard prides itself on being an excellent summer destination – a home away from home, mostly because of its mild summers and beautiful beaches.
Lyme Disease, a bacterial infection causing flulike symptoms, is transmitted through blacklegged ticks.
These ticks are commonly found in moist, wooded or grassy areas, much like the landscape of Martha’s Vineyard. Of the 25,000 cases each year, 15% occur in Massachusetts, the second highest in the nation, second only to Pennsylvania who has 26%.
The larvae, who then feed on infected white- footed mice, grow to become infected nymphs and adult ticks. Lyme Disease is not transferred to a human if the tick is removed within 36-48 hours. Since most adult ticks are removed before that time, often the disease is transmitted through nymph bites.
He is suggesting research to create and study a vaccine for the mice that would alter their genetic makeup, introducing them into the wild where each of their offspring would be disease free as well.
Sam Telford, a tick researcher and professor at Tufts University agrees that this in conjunction with controlling the deer population is key to eliminating Lyme disease. The island of Martha’s Vineyard is the perfect location to use as a controlled environment.
Using nature to fight against itself has seen success in regards to many pests, but it is often not the first choice by pest control companies. Chemical pest control is the easiest route so it’s the one many large companies use.
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