April 2020 JEH: Direct From CDC/Environmental Health Services
April 2020 Journal of Environmental Health (Volume 82, Number 8)
Report Summary: The Role of Local Environmental Health Departments in Tick-Related Activities and Services
S. Kayleigh Hall, MPH, REHS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Chelsea L. Gridley-Smith, PhD, National Association of County and City Health Officials
Amy Chang, National Association of County and City Health Officials
Amy Ullman, PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Cases of tickborne disease have more than doubled in the past 13 years and represent three quarters of all reported vectorborne disease cases in the U.S. The steadily increasing numbers of reported tickborne diseases in the U.S. have become a vexing public health issue, placing strain on state and local health departments. Slightly more than half of all local health departments (LHDs) provide vector control services and a recent survey of the environmental health (EH) workforce shows that 38% of EH professionals reported working in vector control.
While many LHDs perform vector surveillance and control activities, the number and types of tick-related activities performed is poorly understood. To this end, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of County and City Health Officials partnered to gain a better understanding of current LHD EH department tick-related activities and services offered and their needs for strengthening and enhancing those services. From March to May 2019, key informant interviews were conducted with eight local EH departments and one tribal EH department. The key informant interviews sought to identify the level of involvement of EH professionals in various tick activities, including their practices and resources they use, as well as their technical assistance and resource needs. This month’s column provides a summary of the report on key findings from these interviews.