SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

April 30, 2013

Ticks OH’s new nightmare

Public health

Tick diseases a worry as state ends tracking

By Misti Crane THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

The elimination of insect surveillance at the state level has some experts and residents concerned about a gap in protecting public health, including monitoring the spread of ticks carrying Lyme disease.

“This leaves the state totally defenseless to know where blacklegged deer ticks are located in Ohio,” said Glen Needham, an associate professor of entomology at Ohio State University.

  • Deer ticks have spread from only a few counties to 26 in recent years, and their prevalence is likely to lead to a surge in infections, he said.
It’s difficult to quantify the benefits of keeping tabs on ticks and warning residents about associated disease risk, Needham said. “It’s hard to estimate prevention. How do you quantify a prevented disease?”

This month, the Ohio Department of Health told local health officials that it won’t be providing lab analysis of insects, including mosquitoes and ticks, because of cuts in federal funding. The state’s zoonotic-disease program also lost funding in the most-recent state budget. The state gave the program more than $642,000 in fiscal year 2011.

Richard Gary, the state’s public-health entomologist, will stay on to consult with local health departments and others about disease transmission, and the state will continue to track human illness related to ticks, mosquitoes and other insects, he said.

The state has tested about 1,000 ticks a year, although the number has varied, he said.

Columbus Public Health, like most other local health departments, does not have an entomologist on staff and benefited from the state’s work in identifying ticks, said Luke Jacobs, section chief for environmental health.

  • Staff members will continue to remind the public about measures to reduce tick exposure, including wearing light-colored clothing, long pants and long sleeves, and keeping lawns cut short, he said.
  • Ticks transmit a number of diseases, including Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
  • Ohio had 93 cases of tick-borne illness reported last year, including 67 cases of Lyme disease, Gary said.

The elimination of state surveillance is a concern, but it’s fortunate that good work was done to identify blacklegged ticks before the program ended, he said.

“But what is the next thing? And will we be ready for it? That’s my concern.”

mcrane@dispatch.com

(My Comment:

For my thinking, many things have gone from bad to worse and this is certainly one of them.  The over-emphasis on the deficit which never bothered the GOP as it blithely cut taxes under G.W. Bush  while running up tabs on unpaid for wars.  Not a word was said about deficits, by golly, for among other things, President Clinton had left that old budget in fine shape.   No question that the rich were in fact getting richer by the minute as the middle class stagnated financially.  .  .  but the worst was yet to come, wasn’t it?  

As the jobs went overseas, we began to catch on – – the good paying jobs weren’t coming back.  But hey, as long as the rich kept getting richer.  GOP was just fine.  What we have needed for several decades is jobs – – good paying jobs!   If this country is to survive, we MUST have a more equitable  economic solution to the almost inconceivable disparity amongst our people.    No political party should have the ability to take apart our nation,  dismantle our social structure, tear down our government nor corrupt our highest court in the land.   But it is happening as we watch our infrastructure begin to crumble under our feet.    

Tho our country, sick unto death during the fiasco of the Bush years  elected Obama with his high sounding ideals, have had to sit dumbfounded that any properly elected president with such a high approval rating  could turn out to be so ineffectual at governing ,  well, its far more than disappointing;  it appears to be the death-knell of this country.   The system doesn’t work and it looks like no one  has a clue how to fix ANYTHING.    There doesn’t appear to be any consequence for the ineffectual congress whom I’m quite sure almost everyone would agreed belong in prison.

All our country needed since Obama came in is jobs.  He knew that and I believe his ideas were sound.  Still do.   Our government however, is not pulling for the people nor committed to doing what is right for the “Greatest good of all concerned.”    Corruption is rampant.  The corporate structure has taken over.    If all you’ve got is ‘chiefs’  – – whose going to do all the work? 

Maybe its going to be taken out of our hands.  Global warming won’t leave too much to be decided.  The GOP has designed a stranglehold for a creative, idealistic, brilliant man – – but they hate him and won’t allow him to set things right.  Guess what folks – they’re taking down more than a man,.  .   .    they are destroying our country, a place and an idea that I’ve always loved – –  our home!     It is very hard to see the joy in that.            Jan)

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