Harlow Council continue work to reduce dog-harming tick disease

Politics / Thu 18th Aug 2016 am31 10:37am

Third Avenue TickMEASURES intended to reduce the number of ticks carrying Babesiosis on land off Third Avenue is set to begin this week before a new generation of adult ticks develops.

The area of land where these rare ticks were found has been fenced off by Harlow Council since April to stop dog owners walking in the affected area. Babesiosis is a disease that can have serious implications for dogs; fortunately there have been no further reports from vets of any dogs becoming ill since April. There have been no reports of ticks carrying canine Babesiosis on any other land in Harlow.

Work will start to try and limit the number of ticks and reduce the problem spreading by removing bushes and undergrowth and burning these on site and reducing the length of the grass. The measures and their timing are designed to disrupt the life cycle of ticks by discouraging small animals from the area that act as hosts for these ticks as they develop. It is also timed to avoid unnecessary disruption to other wildlife in the area.

Following the work the fence will remain in place to stop dogs accessing the area with further tick monitoring activity planned later this year to see what affect the work has had.

The Council has taken advice from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the practical steps it can take and the time of the year to do it.

In the UK there has never been an effective method identified which will completely eradicate any types of ticks from the natural environment. Unfortunately there are no pesticides licensed for use in the environment that are known to be effective against ticks. Burning the land including the grass would be an extreme measure to take, especially next to a main road and homes and where trees are located, and this might put both the safety of the public and small animals at risk.

Councillor Danny Purton, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: “It is very unlikely that we will be able to completely remove all the ticks carrying Babesiosis. However this work timed before new ticks develop should reduce the number of ticks in the area over time. Experts have warned that ticks carrying this disease are very likely to be found in other areas in the same way that they got onto the land in Harlow, so this is very much about trying to control the issue and seeing what could help reduce the problem. Harlow with its green open spaces has many popular areas for dog walkers so it’s important we do what we can to reduce the problem. We also know residents are very protective of their green spaces so we want them to be aware of this work and the reasons for it.”

“It is important that dog owners consult their vets about anti-tick treatment and regularly check their dogs for ticks. If dog owners have reason to be concerned about their pet’s health they should seek advice from their vet immediately.”

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