Issue Brief: Lyme disease is on the rise

May 9, 2016 -  By
Sabeena Hickman

Sabeena Hickman

Ticks that can spread Lyme disease now live in almost half of all U.S. counties, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Rebecca Eisen, a research biologist at the CDC, reports in the Journal of Medical Entomology that since the late 1990s, the number of reported Lyme disease cases in the U.S. has more than tripled.

To add to the bad news, Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered a new Lyme-disease-causing organism, called Borrelia mayonii, that’s capable of intensifying symptoms.

These points are alarming news for an industry that performs its work outdoors. May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Landscape professionals need to know that Lyme disease is spreading, and if they once thought their area was free of Lyme disease-causing ticks, it may not be now. It’s important to share safety precautions with employees and train them about prevention techniques.

With the danger comes an opportunity to help make clients’ yards and green spaces safer. Clearing brush, pruning and keeping grass trimmed all help reduce the number of ticks around peoples’ properties. Some companies also offer spraying for ticks.

The National Association of Landscape Professionals tracks and supports legislation that earmarks funding for Lyme disease research. You can help by getting to know your legislators and talking to them about this and other issues that impact your business. They need to know how the issue affects your company, your employees and your clients.

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