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Tick Alert!

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Bree Jashin, Vice President FIA, FINIA Representative FIA
Over the last two years with the damp/deluge conditions from La Niña, South East Queensland has seen the explosion in the prevalence of ticks and tick bites causing domestic animal deaths and potentially causing harm to humans.

On Fraser Island in particular, ticks have been an issue impeding invasive species removal, with some aware volunteers not wanting to take the risk, and personally I have been ill on a number of occasions suffering reactions after being bitten by a number of ticks and nymphs after weeding.

It’s timely to bring attention to this issue, especially with all the bush related conservation activities with volunteers and QPWS within the region.

NSW agencies had previously taken some years to respond to staff reports of, often long term, illnesses relating to tick bite. It has now become a very hot OH&S issue in NSW with the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and leading immunologists taking these concerns very seriously. Lyme’s Disease and other debilitating bacterial infections are implicated. http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/infectious/lyme_disease.html

There is an opportunity here for Queensland to adopt a precautionary approach and develop a protocol which follows suit to the OEH response to identifying and managing the potential health risks associated with ticks and tick bite in the field.

Tick bite, within OEH is now regarded as an incident and is to be reported through work safety protocol. Recording of the incident, its location and experienced reactions is a valuable source of information about the distribution and responses by staff to tick bites. http://medent.usyd.edu.au/fact/lyme%20disease.htm