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Lyme Disease Prevention Program Launched

August 15, 2005

New Haven, Conn. — Researchers at the Emerging Infections Program (EIP) at Yale School of Medicine in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have launched a Lyme disease prevention study in 21 Connecticut communities.

The goal of the program is to evaluate the effectiveness of personal protective measures and landscape modification practices on Lyme disease risk. The 21 communities are located in the Torrington Area, Westport-Weston, and Ledge Light Health Districts. To be eligible for the study, residents must have a yard and have been diagnosed with a Lyme disease rash within the past year.

“Results of the study will help us understand which prevention behaviors are most effective for preventing Lyme disease,” said EIP researcher Neeta Pardanani, who will conduct the study with James Meek, associate director of the EIP in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale School of Medicine. “We’re hoping to have an impact on Lyme disease rates in Connecticut.

Personal protective measures include wearing insect repellent; performing bodily tick checks and tucking pants into socks when spending time in the yard. Landscape modifications refer to applying pesticides to a yard to reduce the tick population, installing fencing and planting deer resistant plants to deter deer from the yard. Other measures include creating a dry barrier between a lawn and forested edge; and keeping recreational areas like swing sets and picnic tables a safe distance from woods.

The EIP staff will contact new cases of physician-diagnosed Lyme disease rash reported to the State and local health departments. These people will be asked to answer questions pertaining to their personal protective behaviors and landscape characteristics around their homes. The EIP staff will also ask the same questions of people without Lyme disease who are within similar age groups as cases and who live within a short distance of cases.

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