Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus congratulates two Dutchess County students named as winners in the nationwide Fight the Bite Poster Contest. Leona Lau, a 5th grade student at Hagan Elementary School in Poughkeepsie and Rachael Ng, a 6th grade student at Rombout Middle School in Beacon were the two New York State winners in the national poster contest sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the DEET Education Program.
“These two students used their talent to help educate others about the importance of protecting ourselves against Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “We are thrilled our local students are getting the message about Lyme disease prevention that we have worked so hard to promote.”
To celebrate their achievement, Miss Ng and Miss Lau have been invited to throw out the first pitch along with County Executive Steinhaus and Commissioner of Health Dr. Michael Caldwell at Friday’s Hudson Valley Renegades game when the Department of Health will be promoting this important public health message to fans. The “Be Tick Free” promotion is made available by grant funding the New York State’s Department of Health.
The Fight the Bight Poster Contest was open to all fifth and sixth graders across the nation and was designed to be a fun and creative way for students to learn more about the importance of using repellent while outdoors to protect themselves and their families from diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks, including Lyme disease. In March, the Dutchess County Department of Health and the Youth Bureau sent letters to school superintendents to encourage students to participate in the contest and use the opportunity to continue to teach students about preventing tick-borne diseases. As the two winners from New York State, Miss Lau and Miss Ng will receive a $50 U.S. Savings Bond and an award certificate. Winning posters are used for educational outreach and public service materials. More information about the poster contest is available at http://www.fightthebitecontest.org/.
In Dutchess County, more than 1100 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year. Other tick-borne diseases such as babeosis and anaplasmosis are also on the rise.
Dutchess County Department of Health’s “Be Tick Free” outreach campaign provides important tips to prevent the spread of Lyme Disease. One of the “Be Tick Free” outreach campaign elements is the Tick Smart Program for Dutchess County elementary school teachers and health teachers that features “Tick-Check Harry,” a sheep dog stuffed-animal with seeds hidden in his fur. Children learn about how to prevent Lyme disease by doing a “tick check” and find the “ticks” on Harry.
More information about diseases from mosquito and tick bites, repellent use and other prevention strategies can be found at www.dutchessny.gov, just click on Be Tick Free button on the homepage.