At its March 4 meeting, the Suffolk County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution sponsored by County Legislator Jay Schneiderman to create a tick control advisory committee. The committee will advise the county’s Division of Vector Control on developing a plan to reduce tick-borne illnesses in the county.
The committee will consist of 12 members, including a person knowledgeable in the area of tick control designated by the commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Health Services who will serve as the chair. Mr. Schneiderman will also be on the committee, as will County Executive Steve Bellone, Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, Legislator Al Krupski, the chair of the Legislature’s Public Works Committee; Legislator William Spencer, the chair of the Legislature’s Health Committee, Commissioner Greg Dawson of Suffolk County Parks, a representative of an environmental advocacy group, a public health professional, a representative of the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association and a representative of the 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.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 300,000 yearly cases of Lyme disease. There are 1,000 cases of West Nile per year, making it 300 times more likely that a Suffolk County resident will contract Lyme disease than West Nile virus, said Legislator Schneiderman.
“A primary function of government is to protect the health and welfare of residents of Suffolk County,” he said. “This committee will help Vector Control develop a plan to reduce the incidence of tick borne illnesses.”