2013-06-27 / Letters to the Editor

More needs to be done for Lyme awareness

I read with interest the discussion in this newspaper concerning the Town Council and Lyme disease prevention ideas (“Residents needed for search committee,” June 20).

I recently finished a two-week regimen of doxycycline hyclate, a powerful antibiotic prescribed to combat Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. It was not fun. I had to have the medicine because I found the signature bull’seye rash on my ankle stemming from a tick bite that I acquired in my backyard on Clinton Avenue. The cure seemed worse than the illness at the time, although the truth of the matter is that Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses are extremely dangerous.

Julie Janson’s valuable suggestions about public hearings to spread information about Lyme and action to mitigate the spread of deer ticks should not be ignored. From my own recent experience and observations, deer are everywhere on Conanicut Island – Clinton Avenue is “downtown” Jamestown. For the protection of ourselves, our children and pets, more information about Lyme needs to be publicized by the town’s health department and as a public service by the Jamestown Press.

Ms. Janson’s specific suggestions such as rub stations and culling the deer population are worthy of prompt action. Unless you permit your children and pets to roam unsupervised, the likelihood of their rubbing up against a pesticide laden rub station is pretty small. The benefits outweigh the burden for that idea. Culling the deer population can be done according to the usual regulations for hunting. Jamestown has experienced hunters who know where to find deer and how to safely harvest them.

As for further study of Lyme prevention by the town, there has already been extensive study by public and private health organizations in Rhode Island and other states. Let’s not reinvent the wheel. Let’s act to protect ourselves and our families.

Carolyn Swiggart
Clinton Avenue

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