PEPPERELL — Health Agent Kalene Gendron advised the Board of Health this week that the Nashoba Associated Boards of Health Community Health Team has been investigating an increase in Lyme-related diseases, such as anaplasmosis and babesiosis.
“Currently in the office, we have little cards that fit in your wallet and also little brochures that we’ve been handing out pretty regularly explaining to people how to identify the ticks and how to remove them,” said Gendron.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anaplasmosis is transmitted to humans by tick bites primarily from the black-legged tick, also known as the deer tick. Babesiosis is also transmitted by the bite of infected deer ticks. Infected ticks are typically the size of a poppy seed according to the CDC.
The Community Health Team underscored the seriousness of these diseases in its memo to the board and the difficulty associated with diagnosis. A warm and early spring was cited as contributing to the increased tick activity in the area.
“We have to track these numbers as part of our Community Health Division, and they’ve just seen these numbers unfortunately go up,” said Gendron. “The information is here, we just have to get it out to the public.”
Gendron also commented on mosquito-borne West Nile virus prevention, including avoiding going out at dusk and using appropriate insect repellents. Pepperell is not part of the Massachusetts mosquito control program, which includes 195 communities across the state. Spraying projects are now under way in several communities, including Westford.
“It’s about $20,000 to be part of that program to have them come in and spray,” Gendron said.
The board granted a Title 5 variance request of Peter and Linda Tesini of 20 West Sts to allow a reduction of 12 inches off their water table depth standard of 4 feet. The board also approved a septic upgrade permit for the same address as well as a permit for 71B South Road. Board secretary
Sandra Grogram reported to the board that $3,855.32 in surplus funds from the fiscal 2012 budget was being returned to the town’s General Fund.