Spreading the word about Lyme disease in Maine: New nonprofit wants to educate the public, help to prevent cases of Lyme disease in Maine | Portland Press Herald

Life cycle of deer tick

With cases of Lyme disease on the rise in Maine, a new nonprofit organization has a mission to educate the public and raise awareness about the tick-borne health hazard.

MaineLyme was officially announced by its board of directors Sept. 1. Its mission is to decrease the prevalence of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses through awareness, prevention, education and advocacy.

In 2008, 908 cases of Lyme disease were reported, a 72 percent increase over 2007, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of cases rose again in 2009, with 929 reported, most of them in Cumberland and York counties. A fact sheet compiled by the Maine Lyme Working Group said these numbers may be underestimated by a factor of 10.

“We’ve been working hard in the past six months with that … in mind,” said board secretary Barb Maurais.

Click for the rest of the story by Emma Bouthillette in the Portland Press Herald.

 Fighting Lyme Disease

Follow the organization on Facebook by searching “MaineLyme Nonprofit.” To donate to the educational efforts, mail checks to MaineLyme, P.O. Box 8533, Portland, ME, 04104-8533.

Where are ticks found?

In every county in Maine and both urban and rural communities. However, people should be especially careful when in the following areas:

• Wooded, forested sites.

• Wild, unmaintained landscapes with tall grass.

• Brush or leaf piles.

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