Connect with tick experts at Union Fair

By Paula Jackson Jones | Aug 26, 2017

We are preparing for a very busy week ahead, when we will be spending the entire week at the Union Fair (Aug. 19 to 26), educating fair-goers about ticks in Maine, the diseases that they carry and how prevention is key to staying tick-free. This will be our third year at the Union Fair and we have a great corner booth inside the Exhibition Hall. You can find us there every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We enjoy engaging with the community and helping them to understand what is happening in Maine and how to avoid having a tick encounter, thus lowering the fear factor and allowing them to enjoy being outdoors. We share our own experiences and connections to resources to help those struggling to find their path back to health and wellness. We also network and grow with opportunities to speak outside the fair.

We still have some weeks left to the summer to play outdoors, so as always, I caution you to continue using repellent on your skin, treating your clothing or purchasing repellent-treated clothing, continue to take care of your pets, homes and yards, because the ticks are not going away just because summer’s end is closing in. In fact, in 2016, we saw a jump in the number of new cases in the fall, because folks stopped using repellent and began having tick encounters once again.

Here is some information that we’ll be sharing with folks at the fair:

In 2016, Maine reported the following numbers of new cases: 1,485 Lyme disease (confirmed and probable), 373 anaplasmosis, 83 babesiosis, two borrelia miyamotoi (a different strain of Lyme), six erlichiosis, one powassan virus and three Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Fourteen species of ticks are found in Maine: American dog tick, bird tick, brown dog/kennel tick, deer tick, lone star tick, mouse tick, rabbit tick, seabird tick, squirrel tick, winter/moose tick, woodchuck tick, Ixodes angustus, Ixodes Dentatus and Ixodes gregsoni. Nnot all ticks carry or transmit tick-borne diseases to humans. But you can’t tell by looking at them if they are carrying a disease or not, which is why we advocate testing the tick whenever possible. Tick-testing information can be found on our website and will be readily shared at the fair. Knowing what you’ve been exposed to lessens the delay in troubleshooting diagnosis and treatment.

We will also be sharing information about our community partners at the fair. These are businesses and individuals that partner with MLDSE to help promote services or products to those affected by tick-borne disease or looking to prevent it. No matter the treatment path (western/eastern/integrative) or service (such as home products and yard treatments), we will be putting this information into the hands of folks who stop by our booth. And if you can’t make it to the fair, find our community partners listed on our website.

There is something for everyone at our booth. Free resources to Maine medical providers well educated in tick-borne disease, information about blood tests, treatment options, tick testing, prevention and even education for medical providers (with free ce credits).

So, I invite you to stop by our booth, say hi, grab some products and support the cause. Raising awareness is the only way we’re going to combat the growing number of new cases not only of Lyme disease, but of other tick-borne diseases on the rise in Maine ~ and it’s what we do best!

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