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    ‘Loudoun Targets Lyme’ arrives

    The Loudoun Targets Lyme initiative was officially launched April 10 to implement the county's Lyme Disease awareness and combativeness campaign.

    Loudoun Targets Lyme will provide information for how Loudoun residents can take to keep free of Lyme Disease through, among other measures, a special page on the county website.

    Dr. David Goodfriend, the Loudoun County Health Department Director, said increasing Lyme awareness is especially important “as we enter the peak season."

    “You can help increase awareness by liking the Loudoun Targets Lyme Facebook page, by downloading and sharing Lyme disease resources from the website, by stopping by at one of the many events this spring where the Loudoun Targets Lyme booth will be located, and by spreading the word to friends, family and coworkers,” Goodfriend said.

    Loudoun's Board of Supervisors last year declared 2012 “Lyme Disease Awareness Year,” created a Lyme Disease Commission and adopted a 10-point action plan to mitigate the disease that prevalent in Loudoun and Northern Virginia. Loudoun Targets Lyme is an outgrowth of this plan and involves Loudoun County government, businesses, nonprofit organizations and citizens working to reduce the impact of Lyme Disease in Loudoun.

    The 10-point action plan includes and included:

    1) The creation of a Lyme Disease Commission, appointed by the Board of Supervisors and made up of Loudoun citizens and health care professionals with an acute interest and expertise in Lyme disease prevention and education. This group will be charged with implementing the 10 Point Plan with the assistance of county staff as well as enlisting the help of citizens and organizations whose focus is already on Lyme disease.

    2) The creation of a Lyme survey, as a follow up to the 2006 Lyme Disease in Loudoun County survey, to determine the current key risk factors for contracting Lyme disease as well as any other relevant statistics that will enable a better determination of where work and funding should be directed.

    3) The addition of a high-profile link to the front page of the Loudoun County website that will direct viewers to the County’s web page which contains comprehensive information on Lyme disease prevention and treatment.

    4) Developing a set of educational materials targeting different age groups, including elementary schools. Work with Loudoun County Public Schools to provide students with educational materials that can be disbursed through their health classes as well as consider sending out information on Lyme in children’s backpacks, as has previously been done.

    Suggest having a contest for school-aged children to create a tag-line (for example, “It’s Time to Know about Lyme”) and a logo for this effort.

    5) Organizing a series of Lyme Education Forums within the County that include a panel of experts that can field questions from the public regarding Lyme, provide educational materials to the public as well as help facilitate the formation of Lyme support groups in underserved geographic areas of the county.

    6) Working with the local newspapers to place a series of monthly articles concerning Lyme once a month for the first year, with quarterly articles thereafter. These articles would keep the public up-to-date with advances in prevention and treatment, inform citizens of new resources that are available to them, as well as publish a spraying schedule for public parks.

    7) Establishing a list of doctors that specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease and provide this information on the County’s Lyme webpage in addition to any new educational materials.

    8) Developing information for homeowners on the costs and benefits of spraying their yards for ticks.

    9) Providing a Lyme education awareness briefing to all children enrolled in Parks and Recreation outdoor programs. There are approximately 10,000 children enrolled in these outdoor recreation camps.

    10) Studying the cost and feasibility of implementing two types of insecticide applications that will immediately begin to mitigate the spread of Lyme disease in Loudoun: spraying county-owned properties and licensing and placement of four-poster deer feeders on private and/or public property. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that broadcast spraying of areas of concern once a year, reduces the tick population by 65 percent.

    10a) Spraying county-owned property: In addition to studying the cost and feasibility of spraying county-owned properties, immediately begin a pilot program that targets six western parks that have been identified and selected based upon their small to moderate sizes, geographic locations, and logistical ease of spraying.

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