We’re all still expectantly awaiting new Republican county supervisor Geary Higgins’s (R-Catoctin) promised Major Stinkbug Initiative (in which he vows to “attack these disgusting pests head-on”), but meanwhile comes exciting news in Geary’s first newsletter: “in the near future” he will be holding a public meeting to let us know what he is also doing “to combat” Lyme disease as well as “to take measures to improve public awareness of measures that citizens can take to protect themselves.”
Now you might be ever so slightly dubious that Mr. Higgins is the absolute best authority on this subject. But never fear: He also promises to bring along fellow newly elected Republican county supervisors Ken Reid (R-Leesburg) and Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) to help field any questions that might stump him about the measures you can take in the way of measures you can take to protect yourselves with measures.
Mr. Higgins also assures us in his newsletter that “as a father,” he knows what it is like “to worry,” which surely qualifies him to hold forth with authority on Lyme disease, or perhaps any other subject, too.
It’s of course hard for the average citizen to know where to turn for reliable information on a public health issue such as tick-borne ailments. Some may be tempted to rely on the information that has been readily available for the last three decades from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; others understandably have been waiting for their elected county supervisor to tell them what to do.
To help the perplexed consumer of health information assess these competing sources, I have as a public service compiled this handy comparison chart:
|Federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
||County Supervisor Higgins|
|Staff support||15,000 epidemiologists, physicians, entomologists, public health experts, microbiologists||1 “homemaker”|
|Publication record||Published original 1975 study identifying Lyme disease; collected reports on every case since 1991||Mentioned Lyme disease in an October 2011 campaign postcard|
|Public awareness efforts||Major 30-year public education program including dedicated website www.cdc.gov/lyme||Will hold meeting “in near future”|
Just be aware that if you miss Mr. Higgins’s in-the-near-future to-be-announced session, you are on your own—and may be forced simply to use an insect repellant and check yourself for ticks as a way to prevent Lyme disease, as the CDC, handouts and fliers from parks and recreation agencies, local health authorities, family doctors, schools, and countless newspaper articles have advised.