County Executive William R. Steinhaus announced today that Dutchess County has been awarded a $20,000 Tick Smart Grant dedicated to Lyme disease education and prevention. The one-time allocation will be used to further enhance prevention and education efforts, with special emphasis given to physician, providers, and elementary school children.
Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness and incidence in Dutchess County has grown from three confirmed cases in 1986 to more than 15,000 cases in 2004. County Executive Steinhaus stated, “Our Dutchess County Department of Health has been working diligently to address this emerging health issue by offering education, prevention, and surveillance activities. These funds will allow us to continue prevention efforts.”
The funding will also allow the County to distribute 700 copies of the newly created "Tick-Borne Diseases in the Hudson Valley: A physician's reference manual" to area physicians and providers. This full-color desktop reference guide provides photos and information on tick identification, tick-borne diseases, and resources including reporting information.
The Tick Smart program which was developed by Dutchess County Department of Health is designed for third grade elementary students in the Arlington School District. This program utilizes a variety of methods to assist this age group in recognition of ticks, how to do tick checks, and what they can do to stay tick free. Tick-Check Harry, an English Sheep dog stuffed animal is one of the tools teachers will use with students to help them to perform tick checks and identify ticks. Teachers and School Nurses who participate in the program will receive a training and curriculum package including tick removal kits.
Dutchess County applied for the Tick Smart Grant through the State Department of Health. The Dutchess County Department of Health also maintains a Lyme Disease Hotline at 845-486-3407.