“I live on Martha’s Vineyard and work outdoors. I always find a few ticks when I come back indoors. Last year I had Lyme disease, so this year I started wearing permethrin-treated clothing. I have yet to see one tick on me this year.”

— Kevin C.

The mainstream media are focusing on the Lyme disease epidemic. CNN correctly states that tick and mosquito control programs are failures.

U.S. unprepared to manage epidemic of diseases borne by ticks, insects, experts say

On its website, CNN (6/24, Cohen, Bonifield) reports on the growing threat ticks and insects pose because of their capacity to quickly spread Lyme diseases and other ailments. According to CNN, “For years, experts have voiced concern that many local public health agencies are unprepared to control such pests and limit the spread of the diseases.” The piece notes that a report by “the National Association of County and City Health Officials says 84% of programs to control diseases from mosquitoes need improvement.”

The Wall Street Journal reports the CDC has estimates of annual Lyme are now at 300,000. The real number is closer to 1,000,000. Click To Tweet

Lyme Disease Cases Significantly Underreported, CDC Says

The Wall Street Journal (6/22, McGinty, Subscription Publication) reported that disparities between documented Lyme disease cases and the actual prevalence are high, according to the CDC, which says that the 30,000 cases recorded annually are a fraction of the probable 300,000 cases per year. Lyme disease, as the “most common vector-borne disease by far,” remains “underreported,” according to CDC epidemiologist Dr. Kiersten Kugeler.

Permethrin — Kill the Damn Ticks Before they Bite

Permethrin-treated clothing kills ticks and mosquitoes on contact – i.e. before they bite. Killing ticks reduces the risk of all tick and all mosquito-borne diseases. On the East coast, the tick diseases include Lyme, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichosis, and Powassen. The local mosquito diseases include Zika, West Nile Virus, Equine Encephalitis, and dog heartworm. Four of these can be fatal. Why risk acquiring any of these?

Is Permethrin Safe?

Permethrin is the active ingredient in lice/scabies medicines like Nix and Elimite, which are approved for treatment of children as young as 3 months, as well as for pregnant or nursing mothers. Organizations from The National Academy of Sciences to the US Army endorse it. The EPA “RED” sheet states permethrin “does not represent increased risk.” Your household cleansers are more dangerous to you or your children than permethrin. (Permethrin is toxic to cats and fish, however.)

Permethrin-treated clothing reduces the incidence of tick bites by over 80% Click To Tweet

Permethrin-treated clothing reduces the incidence of tick bites by over 80% (UNC Study of Forest Rangers in American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2014). Peak incidence of new cases of Lyme occurs in 5-15-year old’s, or people over 55. Permethrin-treated clothing, combined with DEET repellant, is amazingly effective. There have been zero cases of Lyme disease among Annapolis midshipmen on field maneuvers since adopting permethrin-treated clothing.

You can treat your own clothing and shoes quite easily, or order impregnated clothing from Amazon (see links below). LL Bean, Cabelas, and REI also have clothing. The White Sierra clothing line on Amazon includes child and toddler clothing.

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James Katz MD

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