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Tick Surveillance Program

Suffolk County’s Tick Pathogen Surveillance Program

In 2016 the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, in collaboration with New York State Department of Health, began a study of ticks and associated pathogens that cause human disease such as Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis. As part of Suffolk County's Shared Services Initiative, the study includes collecting ticks from each of Suffolk County’s 10 townships and analyzing them for the diseases they may carry (pathogens). Please be advised that the findings of this study only represent a single location within each township and are not representative of the entire township.

The results of the study reinforce the importance of educating the public and medical providers about tick-borne diseases and tick bite prevention. This information can be used by jurisdictions to develop tick related strategies and by medical providers to evaluate patients for local tick-borne diseases.

Ticks are collected in the spring, summer and fall to coincide with the presence of different tick stages of development and species. The data collected on an annual basis during the first three years of this study, provided below, confirmed the presence of tick-borne pathogens at infection rates similar to those found in other New York State counties and in the scientific literature. This program is ongoing and tick collection and analysis will continue into the future. Additional data will be released on an annual basis when available.

Statewide results can be found by visiting https://healthdata.ny.gov/ and then clicking the “All Data” tab.

Results from Suffolk County’s 10 townships can be found at the links below. Data is presented in the form of infection rates. An infection rate is the percentage of ticks positive for a particular pathogen out of the total number of ticks tested, from a collection site. For example, an infection rate of 50% for Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria indicates that 50% of the ticks tested were positive for that pathogen, and the other 50% were negative. Pathogens are typically bacteria, viruses or protozoans, which are capable of causing disease. The table below shows the three species of ticks most likely to bite humans in Suffolk County and their associated pathogens.

Tick Species and Associated Pathogens and Diseases

Tick Species Associated Pathogen Related Disease
Blacklegged Tick Borrelia burgdorferi Lyme Disease*
Anaplasma phagocytophilum Anaplasmosis*
Babesia microti Babesiosis**
Borrelia miyamotoi Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever*
Powassan virus Powassan Virus Disease***
Lone Star Tick Ehrlichia chaffeensis Ehrlichiosis*
Ehrlichia ewingii Ehrlichiosis*
American Dog Tick Rickettsia rickettsii Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever*

Tick Pathogen Data

2018 Tick Pathogen Data by Township:

Please be advised that these data only represent a single location within each township and are not representative of the entire township. Results may vary from year to year and 0% infection rates are not shown.


2016-2018 Tick Pathogen Data:


Education

To assist the public, agencies and other interested parties with education, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services has developed materials that can be used by residents and in educational outreach programs. These materials can be found at:

www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/HealthServices/PublicHealth/PreventiveServices/ArthropodborneDiseaseProgram/Ticks

Suffolk County’s Tick Bite Prevention Education Campaign also includes the opportunity for an on-site presentation by county health officials. To schedule an on-site presentation, please call (631) 852-5999.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also promotes educational programs to reduce the risk of tick bites and tick-borne diseases (https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/toolkit/index.html, https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/healthcare/index.html).


Questions about Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases in Suffolk County

If you have questions about ticks or tick-borne diseases, send them to:
 Tick.Prevention@suffolkcountyny.gov

Suffolk County Government

H. Lee Dennison Bldg

100 Veterans Memorial Hwy
P.O. Box 6100
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Riverhead County Center

County Road 51
Riverhead, NY 11901