Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a plan to control the spread of Lyme disease in the Hudson Valley and across New York.

According to the Governor's office, Cuomo's aggressive plan will control tick populations, increase public awareness and access to available data and create a working group to participate in a Lyme disease summit this summer.

Cuomo directed the Department of Health, Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to work together in order to target priority counties and public lands with the highest risk of tick exposure and Lyme disease.

"Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses are a major threat to the health and well-being of New Yorkers, and we are taking aggressive actions to help stop the spread of this disease," Cuomo said in a press release. "With this control plan, New York is making a major commitment to research, awareness, and prevention of this public health crisis to keep New Yorkers safe and free of these preventable diseases."

Tick control methods will include the application of eco-friendly tick control treatments on parkland in the Hudson Valley, Capital Region, and Southern Tier where the public is at the highest risk of tick exposure and Lyme disease, officials say. The state will also expand the use of 4-Poster "tickicide" deer treatment feeding stations that help to control ticks spread by white-tailed deer.

Officials are developing new awareness campaigns with tips on how to avoid ticks. The DEC will expand its website to include a tick-borne disease page featuring information for anglers, hunters, trappers, hikers and those who enjoy the outdoors.

Cuomo also directed the Department of Health to begin private research to develop a better Lyme disease diagnostic test and treatments.

If spending time outside, the Department of Health advises the following tick prevention tips:

  • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to protect against ticks other biting insects
  • Check for ticks every two to three hours while outdoors and brush off any ticks before they attach
  • Perform a full body check multiple times during the day, as well as at the end of the day to ensure that no ticks are attached
  • Consider use of repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or IR3535, following label instructions