Tick-borne diseases, the result of bites by deer ticks, can cause significant joint, heart and central nervous system problems if they are not diagnosed early and treated appropriately. Nantucket has consistently ranked among the top ten counties in the nation for tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and babesiosis.

Some experts assert that a reduction in the deer herd is the best way to reduce the incidence of tick-borne diseases. According to news articles, state fish and wildlife officials have estimated that there are 1,600 to 2,400 deer on the island, about 45 to 55 per square mile, far more than is considered safe by public health standards.

In 2005, the town attempted to cull the deer herd with an extra week of hunting in February, over and above the normal two-week season in late November and early December. The special hunt drew hundreds of hunters from across the country and 246 deer were ultimately killed.  But the hunt proved to be controversial as residents complained about hunters trespassing on private property, shooting near houses and roads and leaving litter. 

To review presentations made at Board of Health tick-borne disease symposiums or to learn more about tick-borne disease prevention, click http://www.nantucket-ma.gov/Pages/NantucketMA_Health/index. Or check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) site for additional information at http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/.

 

Nantucket property owners can do their part by signing the Right of Entry form, which permits the Town to enter private property to test for and treat mosquito larvae. Homeowners and renters should also assume responsibility for the elimination of standing water – where mosquitoes breed - on their property. ​For additional information on mosquito abatement measures that residents and visitors may take, read the brochures produced by the Department of Public Works and the  Nantucket Board of Health or check the website  of VDCI. 

 

       Overview of  Mosquitos and Ticks...

 Despite opposition from the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee at the 2011 Annual Town Meeting, the work of our organization, in concert with other Madaket associations, on establishing an island-wide mosquito control program paid off when the citizen’s petition was adopted and the subsequent budget override was approved. In 2013, Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) received the mosquito abatement contract from the Town, and there have been significantly fewer mosquitoes in Madaket. We must remain vigilant and assure that we continue have an effective mosquito control program on Nantucket.  

Nantucket property owners can do their part by signing the Right of Entry form, which permits the Town to enter private property to test for and treat mosquito larvae. Homeowners and renters should also assume responsibility for the elimination of standing water – where mosquitoes breed - on their property. ​For additional information on mosquito abatement measures that residents and visitors may take, read the brochures produced by the Department of Public Works and the  Nantucket Board of Health or check the website  of VDCI.