Brittany ComakAug 9, 2018, 3:29 pmAug 10, 2018, 4:18 pm

Riverhead plans to train employees in tick prevention

Regional Tick Bourne Disease Resource: Tick awareness is growing, but so is tick population

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RIVERHEAD – The Riverhead Town Board met Thursday morning to discuss the implementation of a tick prevention pilot program through the Regional Tick Bourne Disease Resource Center at Stony Brook Southampton hospital.

This would make the town the first to participate in a prevention program for employees. The training program includes these kits filled with a tick identification pamphlet, tweezers, magnifying glass, and first-aid materials.

"I think it's important so that our folks know how to not only prevent tick bites, but if they do get bitten by a tick, how to remove the tick and then how to look for symptoms going forward," Town of Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said.

The town said employees that would need the training most are likely in the buildings and grounds, water, and highway departments.

The center, which is in its fifth season, has a helpline for tick bites and saw 500 more calls between 2016 and 2017. They said this means that awareness is growing, but so is the tick population.

"There's a lot of people out there in the population, and the more people that know about it and the more people that talk about it with their friends and their relatives, the better we can get our message out," Regional Tick Bourne Disease member Karen Wulffraat said.

The training on preventing tick bites will likely happen sometime in September, where employees will learn how to safely remove ticks, along with the most common types they will find while doing their jobs.

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