If you needed any encouragement to stop feeding deer, this might be it. An angry and distressed Minneapolis man shot and killed his neighbor, thinking he’d gotten Lyme disease from the deer his neighbor was feeding in the yard.
Neil Zumberge also wounded the neighbor’s girlfriend. Zumberge’s son was arrested the day before, accused of threatening to burn the neighbor’s barn down and kill them. Google Zumberge’s name and you can read all about it.
After posting three columns on deer ticks and Lyme disease, I continue to receive advice and information from people in and outside of Maine about this terrible affliction.
In one of the other Lyme columns, I reported that my daughter Rebekah called to say one of our grandsons had been bitten by a tick. She contacted her pediatrician, who told her not to worry, that they don’t test ticks or treat kids until symptoms of Lyme or other diseases appear. That advice was soooo wrong!
I put Rebekah in touch with Representative Jim Dill, a University professor, legislator, and one of the state’s top experts on insects, and he advised Rebekah to have the tick shipped to a Boston lab for testing.
Rebekah arranged the test online at http://www.tickdiseases.org/. The test cost $50. And best of all, the tick that bit my grandson did not have Lyme.
Winter Doesn’t Matter
Despite news to the contrary, a tough winter doesn’t hurt ticks. Chuck Lubelczyk, an ecologist with Maine Medical Center Research Institute, told Portland Press Herald reporter Joe Lawler that, “The snow acts as a nice insulating blanket for the ticks. They survive quite well under the snow.”
That same story reported that you can send a dead tick to the University of Maine lab in Orono to find out what kind of tick it is. That is correct. But the UMO lab can’t tell you if the tick carried Lyme disease. This is the important information you’ll need, so you should ship the tick directly to the Massachusetts lab. And any delay in identifying the possibility of Lyme disease threatens your health.
An $8 million bond to construct a diagnostic lab at the University of Maine in Orono will be on the November ballot. Among many other things, the lab will be able to test ticks for Lyme disease. Vote for it!
Ticks can be easily removed with this spoon that can be purchased at many stores including drug stores. Get a bunch and put them everywhere!