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Focus on fighting ticks in Suffolk health efforts

Lyme disease affects a human?s body in stages,

Lyme disease affects a human?s body in stages, said Bruce Hirsch, a physician at North Shore University Hospital, one of which includes a rash. Sometimes called a ?target rash? or a ?bull's-eye rash,? it has rings of circles, which can vary in color and pattern. Photo Credit: Newsday File /Bill Davis

A plan to increase the county’s involvement in fighting against tick-borne diseases passed a legislative committee Tuesday, but likely won’t be part of the county’s plan to fight ticks and mosquitoes until 2014.

Legis. Jay Schneiderman, sponsor of the bill, said Tuesday that the county’s vector control is designated in the charter to address tick-borne diseases.

“This will help stem an epidemic of Lyme disease,” he said.

If the bill becomes law, it would mandate that officials in Suffolk County Vector Control, which now focuses on controlling mosquitoes, develop an action plan to deal with ticks as well.

That annual plan is submitted by the department in October, Public Works Commissioner Gilbert Anderson said. No money is attached to the bill that would pay for additional staff.

“I’m looking at this as a first step,” Anderson said.

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