Don't laminate COVID-19 vaccination card, experts warn

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Fox News 03 May, 2021 - 09:35am 30 views

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Several businesses offered to laminate people’s COVID-19 vaccination cards for free in a bid to keep them safe from damage, but several public health officials have advised against doing so for several reasons, one of which is the potential need to record booster doses. Another reason, a Florida health official warned, is that the heat from the laminating process could ruin the information on the card or make it difficult to read.

"In some locations, a label is placed on the card that talks about the vaccine brand and lot number and those have been printed on thermal printer labels," Tom Iovino, public information officer for the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, told Fox4KC.com. "So what happens is if you put them through a thermal laminator, they will be completely black and illegible."

Georges Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association, told AARP that laminating the card would also make it difficult to record future vaccination doses should the need for booster shots arise.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not advise for or against laminating vaccination cards on its website, but it does note that you should keep it "in case you need it for future use," including for your second shot.

"Consider taking a picture of your vaccination card after your second shot appointment as a backup copy," the agency notes.

For those who have lost the card, or didn’t receive one, the CDC advises contacting the vaccination provider site where you got your first shot or the state health department to find out how to obtain a copy. The CDC said you can also contact the vaccination provider directly to access your vaccination record or contact the state health department’s immunization information system. You can also access your vaccination information via v-safe or VaxText if you enrolled in either program.

"If you have made every effort to locate your vaccination information, are unable to get a copy or replacement of your vaccination card, and still need a second shot, talk to a vaccination provider," the agency noted.

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Large quantities of Lyme-carrying ticks found near beaches

The Hill 03 May, 2021 - 11:00am

“We were looking at coastal scrub and looked at redwood forests and oak woodlands and that kind of thing, because everyone tends to look at the same kinds of places. And we found ticks pretty much wherever we looked,” Daniel Salkeld, a Colorado State University research scientist who led the study, told The Washington Post.

Check for Tick Bites Often While Outdoors, Illinois Officials Say

NBC Chicago 02 May, 2021 - 05:46pm

Illinois officials are urging residents to check themselves and their children carefully for ticks after spending time in wooded areas this spring.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Ticks carry Lyme and other debilitating and sometimes fatal illnesses such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, Ehrlichiosis, and Babesiosis.

Removing ticks with 24 hours reduces the risk of disease. Instructions for tick removal and awareness of symptoms are available on the IDPH website.

Tick populations in your area can be monitored on the IDPH Tick Surveillance Mapping App.

Snap a pic and identify a tick- new app offers instant answers and maps locations

GuelphToday 01 May, 2021 - 09:00am

It’s tick season once again, but this time with less fear and anxiety for those who come across the pesky creatures. 

eTick, a free public app and webpage created by Bishop’s University in partnership with the University of Guelph, allows users to submit an image of a tick which is then identified by trained personnel.

Within one business day, a user who submits an image of a tick through the app will receive information about the tick’s species, the potential risks associated with that particular species and information about resources available to them in their province.

“It's a very rapid answer but it's also a very specific answer,” said Jade Savage, entomologist from Bishop's University who launched the eTick project. 

Dave Beaton, the City of Guelph’s program manager for forestry and sustainable landscapes, said south Wellington County is now an ‘at-risk’ area for the black-legged deer ticks known to transmit Lyme disease and with climate change, the location range of the tick is moving toward Guelph. 

“Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health does research in parks in the south end of Guelph monitoring for blacklegged ticks. To date, Guelph is just outside the boundary, however, because ticks can be transported around by animals, including birds, you could encounter one almost anywhere in the province,” said Beaton. 

Once a tick is identified, a dot appears on the tick map to mark its location. This allows users to explore the date and time different ticks have been identified in their area.

“So basically it allows people to know if there are any hot spots for ticks around areas where they live or places that they visit,” said Savage. 

She said people often assume that all ticks are equally problematic to humans which is not the case because there are many species of ticks who don't carry pathogens. 

“For people to know that the tick they found on their kid in the morning is not transmitting any pathogen in Ontario is a great relief. This is a very quick answer to an issue that causes a lot of anxiety,” said Savage. 

Savage began this project in 2014 in Quebec. In 2017, she applied for a grant with the Infectious Disease and Climate Change Fund to expand the project beyond her province, and that’s when Claire Jardine and Katie Clow from the Ontario Veterinary College joined the project to kick off the eTick app platform in Ontario in 2019. 

“With them we basically made the platform better and they’ve been a part of that since we got the funds,” said Savage. 

“Ontario and New Brunswick were the first provinces beyond Quebec, today in 2021, we will be covering pretty much all of the provinces for this year.”

Savage said in her discipline, experts often create tools for other experts, but in this case she felt she could take something out of the sphere of academia and transform it to benefit the greater public. 

She said a few years ago, it would take weeks for people to get any information on a tick they found — a process she found extremely problematic in a digital age. 

“Citizen science is increasingly popular. We have the means to do that so why not develop the tools?” said Savage about giving the platform a shot. 

Beaton said reports that citizens provide to eTick will be critical to help the city understand if the back legged tick is extending its range into Guelph. 

“Having residents be tick aware helps keep residents safe by encouraging tick checks that can detect ticks quickly and avoid the potential of Lyme disease,” said Beaton.  

“I have used the app twice personally and was able to get peace of mind that the tick was not a blacklegged tick.”

Check for tick bites often while outdoors, officials say

fox2now.com 01 May, 2021 - 08:39am

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois officials are urging residents to check themselves and their children carefully for ticks after spending time in wooded areas this spring. The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Ticks carry Lyme and other debilitating and sometimes fatal illnesses such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, Ehrlichiosis, and Babesiosis. Removing ticks with 24 hours reduces the risk of disease. Instructions for tick removal and awareness of symptoms are available on the IDPH website.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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ST. LOUIS - A civilian was honored with a Citizen's Citation Award Thursday from the St. Louis County Police Department for helping an officer restrain a suspect who was trying to flee the scene of a crash.

"When Robert Thomas saw a man who became aggressive and began fighting with one of our officers, he didn’t hesitate to assist," the St. Louis County Police Department said.

Today, temperatures will warm into the low 80s this afternoon and it will be very humid. The combination will put the ingredients in place for a few strong to severe storms that will develop.

The bureau said the man has gone by Bruce Emerson Sawhill, John Sawhill and John C. Sawhill. They said he has also used December 24, 1952 and February 24, 1952 as his birthday.

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Local study brings awareness to the presence of disease spreading ticks

Santa Cruz Sentinel 30 April, 2021 - 06:20pm

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SANTA CRUZ — A recent study of coastal counties in Northern California, including Santa Cruz County, showed a surprising result to ecologists — Western black-legged ticks infected with pathogens that cause diseases such as Lyme disease roam the redwood forests and the coastal beaches, not just the woodlands.

Lyme disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, often shows up in individuals through fevers, headaches, fatigue and a skin rash. Without treatment Lyme disease can infect the joints, the heart and the nervous system; most cases can be treated with antibiotics.

Dr. Daniel Salkeld, the lead author of the study and research scientist at Colorado State University, said that a lot of the work on Lyme disease done by ecologists such as himself focuses on the woodland habitat. Places such as Mendocino County, he said, are a hot spot where scientists can regularly find infected ticks. This is largely due to Western gray squirrels who make a home in the woods and transmit the infection.

“That’s the classic kind of evolved picture of California Lyme disease ecology,” Salkeld said Friday. “If you go to the open coastal areas, the squirrel isn’t there. So I would have assumed that disease would have been lower.”

The scientist said he was also surprised by the number of ticks found in areas such as Santa Cruz County, but that readers who roamed the studied areas — Forest of Nisene Marks and Wilder Ranch State parks, to name a few — likely wouldn’t be. The locations and those like it were chosen by ecologists for the way they are widely used by the public; this is how the county’s vector control agency studies and collects ticks too, manager Amanda Poulsen told the Sentinel.

“For this study we looked at three different pathogens, (so) it just comes as a surprise when you notice that if you start looking across different pathogens, a much higher portion of ticks are infected,” Salkeld said. The pathogens studied were Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia miyamotoi and anaplasma phagocytophilum.

Salkeld, whose research is utilized by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, said that in California Lyme disease primarily caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and ticks that carry it are a big issue and cause a lot more infected cases in people than some other tick-borne diseases. However, a new bacterium such as one identified in the study — Borrelia miyamotoi — are found in the study’s described areas in roughly equal proportions.

B. miyamotoi, according to the CDC, causes tick-borne relapsing fever. Also called TBRF, the disease can cause fevers, headaches, muscle and joint aches and nausea. It, too, should be treated with antibiotics.

Ticks are present in northern California year-round — just with different levels of abundance, Salkeld said.

“Ticks have different life stages. Adults … try to persist through the rainy season,” he said. “Immature life stages, called nymphs, are really small like poppy seeds and come out in abundance in April through June.”

A tick’s life cycle begins with larvae, which are comparable to babies and children. Then they develop into nymphs, which Salkeld called “the obnoxious teenager stage.” Finally, they become large, identifiable adults. The danger is in the size, as larvae and nymphs can latch on and hang on for days at a time. Studies show that the longer a tick is on the body, the more the likelihood of disease increases, Salkeld and Paulson both noted.

“It seems easier to collect nymphs north of San Francisco,” he said. “There are nymphs all over the place in Marin but very few as you come south of San Mateo and Santa Clara (counties). The implication is that exposure for humans is a little less likely as you travel south in California.”

The Mosquito Abatement & Vector Control Division, formed under the county’s Agricultural Commissioner, spends much of its time on mosquito control. However, when ticks are out most from April to September, Poulsen said the staff tries to collect as many as it can. This year, the team saw its first nymphal ticks in April — earlier than in previous years.

“We do surveillance in parks and places we think people will come into contact with ticks. It’s kind of all over the county. We are constantly adding to our list,” Poulsen said.

On a weekly basis, people drop off or send pictures of ticks for identification. Poulsen and her team provide consultation on risk factors for contracting a disease. However, identification or testing of ticks should not be used to self-diagnose.

“Earlier in the week, I saw some headlines like ‘Areas near beaches crawling with ticks in Santa Cruz.’ It’s really exaggerated,” she said. “After reading the paper the biggest takeaway for me is that traditionally we have looked more in the woodland areas for ticks and Lyme (disease) but we’ve been doing it along the California coast for decades.”

Though infected ticks are absolutely present, the risk is not substantial, Salkeld sought to communicate in his interview.

“Santa Cruz is so beautiful, it’s fantastic to be out there,” he said. “Quick precautions could stop potential medical issues and illness. Go get outdoors and just do a quick tick check.”

“I don’t think this study should bring more concern to people,” she said. “The biggest message from this agency is we don’t want to discourage people from going out and about. It’s more about being aware that pretty much everywhere in Santa Cruz County you could encounter ticks. It’s about knowing what to do if you do get a tick.”

While recreating outdoors, stay on the trail, Poulsen said. Afterward, go home and shower to try to find ticks, Salkeld said. Throw clothes in the dryer to kill them. Insect repellent can also be used to try to prevent ticks from attaching in the first place.

Members of the public curious about or needing help regarding ticks can call 831-454-2590 or visit bit.ly/3xGuqfY.

Tips on how to avoid tick bites from the Illinois Department of Public Health

week.com 30 April, 2021 - 05:31pm

According to a press release from the IDPH, residents can avoid tick bites by diligently checking themselves, their pets, and help children with a tick check after spending time in areas where ticks live, such as in and near wooded areas, tall grass, and brush. 

Removing ticks within a 24-hour period reduces the risk of potential disease transmission. 

The IDPH also released the following tips for avoiding ticks well spending time outdoors:

If an individual becomes ill with fever and/or rash after being in an area where ticks may have been, they are being advised to contact their health care provider.

Scattered showers are moving through central Illinois early this morning and will persist through daybreak. Grab the umbrella out the door!…

Early spring fueling an explosion of dog and deer ticks

NewsCenterMaine.com WCSH-WLBZ 30 April, 2021 - 04:56pm

LEEDS, Maine — While many of us welcome spring with open arms, the bugs that come with it are another story. Ticks have been out for weeks looking for their next blood meal.

That includes Deer ticks, which carry Lyme disease. So far this year, the Maine CDC is reporting 66 cases of Lyme disease, 25 cases of Anaplasmosis, and eight cases of Babesiosis.

The warmer than usual temperatures have also resulted in an explosion of American Dog ticks, which do not carry diseases in New England, but experts say it's key to know the difference to protect your family and your pets.

Last weekend, Heather Worth brought her dog Vixen inside for a tick check, after raking leaves at her home in Leeds. 

"I just started pulling them off. I pulled 23 off her and put her in the shower and gave her a bath," Worth said. She also does constant tick checks on her three young children when they are outside playing in the yard.

Experts say it's important to know how to spot an American Dog tick and also the black-legged deer tick, which carries the bacteria that cause Lyme and other tick-borne.  

An early spring unfortunately has resulted in an explosion of deer and American dog ticks in Maine. We’ll tell you why it’s important to know the difference— to help protect yourself and your pets. The story @6 #NEWSCENTERmaine pic.twitter.com/kJPlHOpa4L

The majority of ticks found in Heather's yard are dog ticks, which are usually brown with whitish-gray markings. 

Across the state pictures posted on social media show the explosion of dog ticks so far this year. Experts say thanks to early spring, dog ticks are about three weeks early. 

"Really hyper abundant right now, the good news is that they don't transmit disease in our part of the country", Chuck Lubelczyk, a field biologist with the Maine Medical Center Research Institute.

While dog ticks are a nuisance, Lubelczyk says they are only active until July, unlike deer ticks which can remain active through November. How active will ticks be this summer? Ticks need a lot of moisture to stay alive. Last summer's drought condition put a big dent in numbers and it could happen again this year.  

"The landscape out there is still pretty dry out there for the spring. We may end up seeing the tick numbers dwindling if we don't get significant precipitation," Lubelczyk said. 

But wet and cool temperatures over the next weeks could put the season back on track. With more people getting outdoors, from gardening to hiking during the pandemic also means more risk for Lyme and other illnesses. Experts wearing protective clothing, repellent containing permethrin, and frequent tick checks to protect your family and your pets.

For more information on how precautions against ticks and the diseases they carry, click here.

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They're back: How to check for ticks and what you should do if you've been bitten

USA TODAY 30 April, 2021 - 10:18am

Here's what you need to know about ticks: How to check for bites and what to do if you find a tick on your body.

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Are you removing ticks correctly? Here’s everything you need to know about ticks and how you can combat Lyme disease. USA TODAY

Gardeners, anglers and hikers all have at least one thing in common this time of year —  concerns about ticks.

These little arachnids can be a significant problem for people venturing outdoors. Ticks can be more than just a nuisance since they also can spread disease. 

This fact may be the most widely known in Pennsylvania, which has had the most cases of Lyme disease from ticks in the country every year since 2011.

Leah Lind, the Lyme and Tick Borne Disease coordinator within the Pennsylvania Bureau of Epidemiology at the Department of Health, feels the numbers for infections during last year might be lower than 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

She believes people didn’t go to the doctor or hospital as they normally would because of concerns about the coronavirus. People who may have had symptoms of Lyme disease went undetected because people didn’t seek treatment as they would in normal years.

Early symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pain and a skin rash that can sometimes appear like a bull’s eye.

Now is the time of year when tick bites are common. “We’ve been seeing an increase in (emergency room) visits,” Lind said.

She said you don’t have to seek medical attention for all tick bites, just when your skin appears to be infected, red or swollen.

Nicole Chinnici, the director of the Dr. Jane Huffman Wildlife Genetics Institute at East Stroudsburg University, said ticks like moist, cool conditions and that’s when they are prevalent on taller grasses.

“Ticks are more active in the morning,” she said about the cooler, wet time of the day.

When it’s hot and dry, the ticks stay under leaf litter to find moisture. But this time of year, it’s easier to see them in grassy areas and along field lines where there’s moisture on top of the foliage. She said a snowy winter protects ticks as the snow helps to incubate them in the cold environment.

The researchers usually see a decline in samples in August when the hotter, dry weather drives ticks back under the ground cover.

You don’t have to be in the woods to be around ticks.

Chinnici said many people receive tick bites while walking on their own lawns. She said yard work, clearing out leaves and working in gardens can put people at risk.

“The highest tick populations are found on the edge of wooded areas, she said.

Lyme disease-infected ticks are found in these areas because the ticks like to use mice as their hosts and mice have bacteria. It’s believed white-footed mice are significant carriers for Lyme disease bacteria. Researchers believe ticks that feed on mice are highly likely to become infected, making them capable of transmitting Lyme disease to people.

People who do spend time in nature should check themselves when they come back in the home. Chinnici said to check your body for ticks and also to take a warm shower within two hours of being outside.

She also recommended brushing your dog that spends time outdoors to remove ticks. Pet owners should check with their veterinarians about the different medicines that can be used for tick and flea prevention as well.

If you find a tick attached to your body, she suggests using tweezers to pull the tick from your skin. She said to avoid using lotions or other items that may aggravate the tick as that could cause it to regurgitate back into your body.

“We still want people to go outdoors,” she said, but they should be aware of ticks.

There's one good way to remove a tick that could be carrying Lyme disease.

If you are planning to spend time outdoors, Chinnici recommends spraying your shoes and clothes with permethrin spray that’s available in stores. The chemical kills ticks on contact. She points out that it’s only for clothing, not skin.  For your skin, you can use insect repellant to reduce the chance of a tick staying on your body.

Lind agreed with protection efforts and pointed out the key areas are your shoe, socks and pants. “They crawl up,” she said about the bugs being found in grassy areas.

She said campers can spray their gear and tents with permethrin to keep ticks at bay. The spray can remain effective for about six weeks or so. “It’s good through several washings.”

To reduce the spread of the disease from mice to ticks to humans, research is underway to create technology to vaccinate mice.

Chinnici explained that bait boxes could be placed along field and wood edges that have vaccines in the bait food that will be eaten by mice. The boxes could be placed in state parks and other areas that are frequented by people as well as private personal lawns.

Right now there are tick tubes available to reduce the chances of mice spreading Lyme disease to ticks. She said the tubes have cotton balls sprayed with permethrin that kills ticks. Mice take the cotton to build nests and then the ticks who host on mice die when the rodents lay in their nests.

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