Public Hearing in Stamford Looks at Connecticut's High Rate of Lyme Disease
As Lyme disease continues to spread across New England and into parts of the Midwest, more than 100 people gathered in Stamford on Thursday morning, August 30, to discuss ways to fight it. Senator Richard Blumenthal, who hosted the hearing, is proposing that Congress create an advisory committee on tick-borne related diseases that can help advocate for better diagnosing and prevention: “We share a common concern with a disease that has really reached epidemic proportions. There are about 40,000 cases of Lyme reported nationally each year, but that number is probably only about 10 percent of the actual number." Almost all of the cases come from New England, and Connecticut has one of the highest concentrations of Lyme disease in the country. At the hearing, many discussed the need to control the deer population, which has reached an average of 75 deer per square mile in Fairfield County according to a recent state aerial survey. Dave Streit of the Fairfield County Deer Management Alliance says that has to be addressed: “These deer are like B52 bombers doing carpet-bombing through your yard as they drop tick eggs…and then later that day or that afternoon, your kids go out and play in that exact same area. There’s no wonder that so many kids are ending up with Lyme disease.” Hunting season for deer begins in mid-September, and Streit’s town of Redding has created a program where private landowners can get hunters to help them manage the deer population on their land. Streit says 160 families have already signed up.