Lyme disease, first identified in Connecticut in 1975, continues to be an important public health concern. Surveillance maintained by the Department of Public Health (DPH) has shown that we have the highest number of cases relative to the population of any state. The DPH has had an active role in contributing to the understanding of Lyme disease and other diseases spread to people by ticks including ehrlichiosis and babesiosis.
The rising incidence of Lyme disease is due to a number of factors including:
Increased tick abundance
Overabundant deer population
Increased recognition of the disease
Establishment of more residences in wooded areas
Increased potential for contact with ticks
Public health surveillance is one of the tools used to monitor the public health impact of diseases over time. The DPH has conducted surveillance for Lyme disease since 1984; reporting by healthcare providers has been required since 1987. Over the years, surveillance for Lyme disease in Connecticut has been modified several times to improve completeness of reporting and to conduct research.
In Connecticut, providing the public with information about vector borne diseases, including Lyme disease and its complex transmission cycle, involves three state agencies: the DPH, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
Tick Management- The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
The CAES conducts research on arthropod pests of food crops, ornamental and fruit trees, shrubs, turf, forests, and pests of public health importance. The following links will assist you in identifying ticks found in Connecticut, diseases associated with infected tick bites, and tick control.
Deer in Connecticut - The Department of Energy & Environmental Protection
Efforts to protect and restore habitat and natural resources, including the reforestation of Connecticut have contributed to a diversified and healthy wildlife population throughout the state. The re-emergence of wildlife throughout the state presents a number of challenges and opportunities. To address these challenges the DEEP has developed a number of programs to manage wildlife populations, whether it be through habitat restoration projects or regulated hunting seasons. Complementing management efforts, the DEEP is engaged in a comprehensive outreach and education effort to make the public more aware of the wildlife that can be found throughout the state.
Deer have an important role in the life cycle of the ticks that transmit Lyme disease. Adult deer ticks need a blood meal before laying eggs and most frequently this is obtained by feeding on deer. Therefore, while deer do not serve as a source of infection, deer control can play a role in prevention of Lyme disease when used as part of an integrated pest management program to reduce tick populations.
Engorged female lays eggs.
Larvae hatch and feed on small mammals when they can become infected with Borreliaburgdorferi.
Larvae molt into nymphs.
Nymphs attach and feed on small mammals, birds, pets, and humans when most infections occur.
Adults attach and feed on larger mammals (mainly deer).
Adults remain active on warm winter days with peak of activity in spring.
Engorged female lays eggs and adults die.
Residents of municipalities that would like to adopt community-wide deer control programs should consider the measures involved with execution and the likely effectiveness of such a program. Once a local decision is made and a plan has been formalized, the plan must be submitted to the DEEP for approval prior to implementation. The following sources provide information regarding deer control in Lyme disease prevention.
For additional information specific to deer control and Lyme disease prevention, please review the following:
The State of Connecticut Department of Public Health is not responsible for the contents of any off-site pages referenced through links. The responsibility for content rests with the organizations who are providing the information. Specific details regarding a document should be directed to the appropriate organization and not necessarily to the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health.