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Ticks on Martha’s Vineyard [Resources]

Vineyard-House

With many of us traveling to Martha’s Vineyard, and some lucky ones who live there year-round, it’s important to be aware of the tick species on the island and the best way to protect ourselves and our families so we can enjoy the beautiful beaches and explore the landscape. Based on the deer density of the island and weather conditions, the tick populations are active in high numbers almost every season.

Martha’s Vineyard Board of Health reported that in 2011, 25% of people ages 5 to 18 have been treated for Tick-Borne illnesses (TBI) one or more times, and 54% reported a family member being treated for TBI. Tourists especially are at risk as many are not aware of the symptoms and do not seek medical treatment.

The best prevention is awareness. Learn the differences between the ticks and identify which are on your property:

1. Blacklegged Tick (a.k.a. Deer Tick)

Blacklegged ticks take 2 years to complete their life cycle and are found predominately in deciduous forest. Their distribution relies greatly on the distribution of its reproductive host, white-tailed deer. Both nymph and adult stages transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis. (Source: TickEncounter Resource Center)

2. American Dog Tick

American Dog ticks are found predominantly in areas with little or no tree cover, such as grassy fields and scrubland, as well as along walkways and trails. They feed on a variety of hosts, ranging in size from mice to deer, and nymphs and adults can transmit diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia. American dog ticks can survive for up to 2 years at any given stage if no host is found. Females can be identified by their large off-white scutum against a dark brown body. (Source: TickEncounter Resource Center)

3. Lone Star Tick

Lone Star ticks are found mostly in woodlands with dense undergrowth and around animal resting areas. The larvae do not carry disease, but the nymphal and adult stages can transmit the pathogens causing Monocytic Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and ‘Stari’ borreliosis. Lone Star ticks are notorious pests, and all stages are aggressive human biters. These are new to Martha’s Vineyard, and you should report if you see one immediately to the board of health. (Source: TickEncounter Resource Center)

If you find a tick on you or a pet, remove it immediately. Seek Care Promptly from Your Primary Care Physician at the First Sign of Symptoms.

Here are on-island treatment options provided by the Martha’s Vineyard Board of Health:

  • Emergency Room
    Martha’s Vineyard Hospital
    1 Hospital Road
    Oak Bluffs
    508-693-0410Walk-In Clinic for Tick-Related Illnesses
    Vineyard Medical Care
    304 State Road
    Tisbury
    508-693-4400

    Island Health Care
    245 Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road
    Edgartown
    508-939-9358

  • Same Day Laboratory Testing for
    Tick-Borne IllnessEmergency Room
    Martha’s Vineyard Hospital
    1 Hospital Road
    Oak Bluffs
    508-693-0410

    (Includes Western Blot test)
    Vineyard Medical Care
    304 State Road
    Tisbury
    508-693-4400

  • Other On-Island Patient Support CentersVineyard Center for Clinical and Diagnostic Research on Tick-Borne Diseases
    Vineyard Medical Care
    304 State Road
    Tisbury
    508-687-9520

    Lyme Center of Martha’s Vineyard
    38A Panhandle Road
    West Tisbury
    508-693-1846

Now that you are identifying the ticks on Martha’s Vineyard you are seeing, it’s time to protect yourself and others by reducing the overall population and tick habitat near your home. Share our free tick identification card with your friends and neighbors, and contact us for a free consultation to determine the best plan of action to offer season-long protection.