EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 19, 2012

There are more ticks around this spring

(Continued)

"The same tick that's the principal vector of Lyme disease, the black-legged tick, also spreads two other diseases that are on the rise here: Babesiosis and Anaplasmosis," he said. "A lot of people haven't heard of them, but they're serious. Babesiosis is malaria-like and has a higher risk of death than Lyme."

A few local towns are holding tick information sessions to help residents stay safe. David Hunter, a facilitator for the Greater Manchester Lyme Disease support group, will speak to residents on May 2 at the Derry Municipal Center.

"I've been doing talks across the state to get the word out," he said. "There's so much misconception out there about Lyme disease. People need the facts so they can protect themselves."

Take steps to reduce risk

There are lawn sprays to kill ticks living in back yards and other ways to keep the numbers low, according to Sarah MacGregor of Dragon Mosquito.

"Keep the vegetation low on the edge of your property," she said. "Ticks crawl up the grass and hold on with their hind legs and wait for something to sweep by. Keeping grass short is a way to minimize the problem."

Eaton said there are also new tick repellents that have been recently approved for use in the state, other than the well-known DEET sprays.

"A lot of people have never heard of Picaridin, which is just as effective for ticks without some of the side effects that DEET has," he said.

Spray is one of the precautions that Plaistow recreation leaders will use while putting on activities like sports and field trips for about 125 children each week.

"We have tick spray that goes in all the equipment bags for sports teams and comes with all our first aid kits," Malette said. "We're absolutely going to be checking for ticks."

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