If you can see grass, tick season is here

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copyright the Chronicle May 3, 2017

 

by Brad Usatch

 

This week’s weather notwithstanding, summer is on its way, and with it, another year of tick vigilance for people and their pets.

Lyme disease, the most prevalent pathogen spread by ticks, used to be a fringe issue for a handful of unlucky souls in southern New England and maybe southern Vermont counties. But in the past ten or so years, ticks have spread north, and biologists and doctors warn that no place in Vermont is safe from the parasites and the host of diseases they are able to transmit.

Based on information on the Department of Health website, up until about the year 2000, Vermont averaged roughly ten to 20 confirmed cases of Lyme disease per year. That number grew steadily to reach 50 by 2004, 105 by 2008, and 330 by 2010. In 2013, the state recorded 675 cases of Lyme disease, or better than one infection for every 1,000 people.

That same 2015 data ranked Vermont as the state with the highest incidence of Lyme disease in the country. That year, the Center for Disease Control reported that 78.4 out of every 100,000 Vermonters was infected at some point. That number was well above most other states, including Connecticut, which reported an infection rate of 52.2 per 100,000.

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Lyme disease victims seek more options

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This is a tick that Graci Rudolph found on her skin recently.  She saved it to be tested for Lyme disease.  She was bitten by a tick three years ago and got Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

This is a tick that Graci Rudolph found on her skin recently. She saved it to be tested for Lyme disease. She was bitten by a tick three years ago and got Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

copyright the Chronicle July 2, 2014  

by Bethany M. Dunbar

HOLLAND — Graci Rudolph was the director of an active nonprofit organization in New York, working long days. It was work she thrived on and a cause she believed in. She did public speaking and fund-raising, including television appearances.

Then one day — three years ago — she got bitten by a little insect, a tick, and got Lyme disease. Soon she could not sleep, her body became wracked with the most intense pain she has ever felt, she lost her physical balance and her ability to think clearly, or sometimes even get out of bed.

She wanted to die and says she can understand some Lyme disease patients’ impulse to commit suicide.

Ms. Rudolph, who now lives in Holland, is one of a sharply increasing number of people in Vermont who have contracted Lyme disease. According to the Vermont Department of Health, there were 37 cases in Vermont in 2002, and 623 in 2011. Most of the cases have been in the southern part of the state, but cases have been reported in every county except for Essex.

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