Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman has announced the creation of a tick control advisory committee, which will advise the county’s Division of Vector Control on developing a plan to reduce tick-borne illnesses in Suffolk County.
“A primary function of government is to protect the health and welfare of residents of Suffolk County,” said Legislator Schneiderman. “This committee will help vector control develop a plan to reduce the incidence of Lyme disease and other tick borne-illnesses.”
The committee consists of 12 members, including Chairman Dr. Jorge Benach, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases and Distinguished Professor of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology at Stony Brook University. Dr. Benach was designated by Dr. James Tomarken, the Commissioner of Suffolk County Department of Health Services.
Other committee members include Dominick Ninivaggi, director of the Division of Vector Control, Dr. Ilia Rochlin, laboratory director of Division of Vector Control, representing Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Brian Kelly of East End Tick & Mosquito Control representing Suffolk County Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, Jason Hann, legislative aide, representing Mr. Schneiderman, Gwynn Schroeder, legislative aide, representing Suffolk County Legislator and chair of the legislature’s Public Works & Transportation Committee Al Krupski, Dr. John Rasweiler, representing Suffolk County Legislator and chair of the legislature’s Health Committee William Spencer, Nick Gibbons, representing Commissioner Greg Dawson of Suffolk County Parks & Recreation, Jeremy Samuelson, executive director of Concerned Citizens of Montauk, Dr. Scott Campbell, a health care professional, Shelter Island Supervisor James Dougherty, representing the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association, and Dan Gilrein, representing Cornell Cooperative Extension.
In 2013, Legislator Schneiderman sponsored a resolution that requires the division of Suffolk County Vector Control to submit a yearly plan to reduce the incidence of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. Under his legislation, the yearly Suffolk County Vector Control plan would include a section on the steps being taken to reduce the incidence of tick-borne illnesses. This section will also include the work to be done, the methods to be employed and methodologies to determine the effectiveness of the program.
There are many types of tick-borne illnesses in Suffolk County including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis and ehrlichiosis. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 300,000 yearly cases of Lyme disease.