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smokepole
09-22-2009, 03:22 PM
Brookfield leaders endorse deer hunts to deter Lyme disease
By Nanci G. Hutson
staff writer


BROOKFIELD -- Some 15 or 20 trained bow-and-arrow hunters will be utilized to trim the growing herd of white-tail deer in town and prevent the spread of Lyme disease.

At a Board of Selectmen meeting this week, Selectman Jerry Murphy said proper hunting of these deer -- which can carry more than 100 ticks apiece, each capable of infecting humans with Lyme disease -- is a humane, responsible prevention method.

The venison is donated to soup kitchens in Waterbury and Bridgeport.

On Oct. 6, the Brookfield Lyme Disease Task Force will sponsor a Lyme disease seminar that will include testimonials and information from physicians who specialize in Lyme disease treatment.

Murphy said the last such seminar, about four years ago, attracted 250 to 300 people.

He said detecting Lyme disease can be tricky, since medical tests are often not decisive.

While some people who become infected may see a tell-tale "bull's-eye'' rash, others may go undiagnosed because the symptoms of this disease mimic symptoms associated with seasonal flus, such as fever, chills, headaches, stiff joints and fatigue, Murphy said.

Lyme disease can cause permanent neurological damage, as well as other chronic health ailments.

One of the issues to be debated at the seminar is when to begin treatment for Lyme disease, because the longer it goes untreated, the more damage someone can suffer, Murphy said.

Murphy, who serves on a regional Lyme disease task force, emphasized that the best way to stop human infection with Lyme disease is to properly manage the deer population.

Controlled hunts take place on state and private property.

Bow hunting season started Tuesday and goes through Nov. 17, then resumes Dec. 23 to 31.

All the areas where hunters will set up tree stands to sight deer will be in unpopulated areas, and all will be properly posted with signs, Murphy said. Safety is key in these efforts.

A year ago, the hunters were able to get 23 deer in Brookfield, and another 23 were killed by automobiles or by people on private property.

First Selectman Robert Silvaggi agreed that deer can be a public menace if not properly controlled.

Murphy said statistics indicate that some 80 percent of deer ticks carry Lyme disease, vs. 30 percent a few years ago.
About the seminar The Brookfield Lyme Disease Task Force will have a seminar Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Candlewood Lake Inn. For more information about the event, call the task force at 203-270-3301. For more information about Lyme disease and tick removal first-aid kits, visit www.brookfield.org/LymeDisease.