Your Family's Safety
Camps, Day Care, Schools, Scouts
Lyme disease is the most frequently reported vector-borne illness in the United States and is on the rise. In some areas of the United States, as many as 40-70% of blacklegged ticks are infected with the Borellia burgdorferi bacteria. While Lyme disease is endemic in the Northeast and Upper Midwest states, other tick borne diseases, including Babesia, Ehrlicheosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Anaplasmosis are also prevalent in these and other parts of the United States.
- Children ages 5-14 have the highest incidence of Lyme disease in the United States (Source: CDC) and most cases are acquired in the summer months.
- Tick-borne illnesses are not as prevalent in the spring and fall. Be aware that adult deer ticks may be active during the winter months whenever temperatures are above freezing.
- The actual number of confirmed and probable cases of Lyme disease may be significantly higher than those currently reported by the national CDC. According to the May 7, 2004 edition of the Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), “Surveillance for LD is subject to several limitations. Studies from the early 1990s suggested that LD cases were underreported by six to 12-fold in some areas where LD is endemic…” In 2013, the CDC acknowledged the actual number is closer to 300,000 cases per year. View PBS News Hour Video.
- Check the latest state numbers and incidence rates of Lyme disease for your state.
What does this mean for the safety and well being of children in your care?
Summer Camps/Scout Leaders: By nature of their rural and often wooded locations, many summer camps and scouting venues support prime tick habitat. By utilizing a combination of education and awareness, landscape modifications, personal protection strategies-including the use of repellents and multiple daily tick checks, proper tick removal and prompt identification and submission, youngsters and staff attending summer camps and scouting activities can significantly reduce their chances of contracting tick-borne illnesses. By utilizing a reporting protocol to inform camp leaders, nurses and parents of tick removal, camp leadership can be proactive, not reactive.
Day Care Providers/Schools: It is estimated that nearly 75% of all Lyme disease cases are contracted within 100 feet of the home (Source: Connecticut Department of Agriculture). If children are engaged in outdoor activities during recess or break times in proximity to tick habitat-wooded edges, tall grass, leaf litter, a thorough tick check should be performed immediately after all outdoor activities. In addition, don't discount the possibility that a child may have come to school with a tick already attached. If possible, allow the school nurse or adult in charge to identify, remove and secure the tick for possible submission to a local physician or testing service.
- Perform multiple tick checks throughout the day. Consider a tick check after each camp venue or at the mid morning break, lunch time, mid afternoon, and most thoroughly during the evening shower or bath. Instruct campers/students to use the sensitivity of their fingertips to feel for ticks. Personal Protection Strategies has a complete list of areas to check.
- Maintain a log of when and where ticks are acquired. This will assist you in determining which areas of your camp/school are most likely to support tick activity. In addition, repeated tick attachments to the same individuals might indicate a pattern of activity and assist with defining tick habitat.
- Pre-camp screening. Are incoming campers coming from a tick endemic region of the country? Question incoming campers/parents about recent flu-like symptoms, particularly in the summer months when flu like symptoms don't typically manifest.
- Be proactive in regard to tick-borne illnesses. Consider including educational literature in any communications to parents throughout the year.