Marshfield Clinic Research Institute Lyme Disease Scientists Looking for Research Participants

Marshfield Clinic Research Institute (MCRI) is looking for patients suspected to be in the early stages of Lyme disease to aid in the research of the disease. The research is in participation with the Lyme Disease Biobank, a program that collects blood and urine samples of people with early Lyme disease in multiple regions across the country, including the East Coast, Wisconsin, and California. One of the ultimate goals is to help researchers develop a better diagnostic test for confirming the presence of Lyme disease and in turn improve patient care. Participants will be compensated for participating. See more information in this press release.

DHS Encourages Residents to Take Action to Prevent Tick and Mosquito Bites

While many Wisconsin residents are more than ready to take advantage of the warmer weather and enjoy all the resources the state has to offer, the Department of Health Services (DHS) strongly encourages everyone to take care to avoid tick and mosquito bites.

Both ticks and mosquitoes can transmit various illnesses. Lyme disease, which is spread by ticks, and West Nile virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, account for most of the disease spread by ticks and mosquitoes in Wisconsin.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows Wisconsin among the top 20% of states reporting cases of tick-borne disease in the country. Wisconsin reported 4,299 cases of Lyme disease in 2017, the highest number reported in our state to date.

In addition, there were 51 human cases of West Nile virus reported in 2017, the highest number in Wisconsin since 2012. Certain dead birds can be an indication of West Nile virus in an area. DHS encourages anyone who finds a sick or dead bird to call the dead bird reporting hotline at 800-433-1610.

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The Tick App

Researchers from Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin – Madison along with members of the CDC Regional Centers for Excellence in Vector-Borne diseases are conducting a tick exposure behavioral study. As part of the study they have recently released the Tick App. The website also contains information on tick ID and tick safety. 

From the Tick App website:

What is the study about?

In two words, Lyme disease. Lyme disease can be transmitted to humans after a tick bite. This study is designed to help researchers understand more about how  people’s practices and activities impact their exposure to ticks. This research is being done because Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease (infections transmitted by the bite of infected arthropod species, such as mosquitoes, ticks, sandflies, etc) in the United States. The information provided will help researchers design integrated control strategies to prevent diseases transmitted by ticks.

Why is my participation important and how is the app useful to me?

If you live in a high-risk area, sharing your experience and perspective with researchers will help them learn about the risk factors for tick borne disease and design better methods that prevent tick bites and tick-borne disease. 

Also included is information that will help you identify the different tick species, ways to prevent tick exposure and other information that will help you understand more about ticks and the diseases they transmit.

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2018 NRCS Conservation Local Work Group Meeting Schedule Announced

Madison, Wis. – May 21, 2018 − The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Wisconsin has announced the schedule for 2018 Local Working Group (LWG) meetings. Eighteen meetings will be held across Wisconsin in August to gather input and help set priorities for U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs under the Farm Bill.

“Local Working Groups offer a seat at the table for interested individuals and groups to advise NRCS on how best to set priorities and locally implement conservation programs,” said Angela Biggs, Wisconsin State Conservationist. “Members are diverse, with an interest and focus on local agriculture and various natural resource issues,” added Biggs. Farmers representing a variety of crops and livestock raised within the local area, private woodland owners, representatives of agricultural and environmental organizations, and representatives of other agriculture and natural resource agencies are welcome and should be represented.

Wisconsin LWGs represent two or more counties grouped together by geography, similar land use, resources, and type of agriculture. See a map of Local Working Groups. This will allow greater flexibility and access to funding for the groups.

One of the main programs discussed at the meetings will be the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a federal conservation program that helps agricultural producers in a manner that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. EQIP offers technical and financial assistance to help landowners with needed conservation practices for water quality, soil health, wildlife and other natural resources. The program was re-authorized through 2018 in the federal Farm Bill, which was passed in February 2014.

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Recalled Electric Chainsaws Can Accidentally Re-start

Hardware retailer Harbor Freight is recalling one million chainsaws after reports that the machines can re-start even when they’re in the “off” position.

The company announced that it was recalling chainsaws manufactured in China and sold in its stores in the U.S. The Consumer Products Safety Commission says Harbor Freight received 15 complaints where a chainsaw user’s switch malfunctioned and their 14-inch chainsaws restarted unexpectedly.

There are two models of the electric chainsaw being recalled and they are labeled with three different brand names — “The Portland,” “One Stop Gardens” and “Chicago Electric.” It’s important to check if you think you might have one of these saws in your tool shed, because Harbor Freight actually began selling these as far back as 2009.

If you have one, you are being urged to bring it back to the store for a replacement.

Details about the recall can be found here

Mink Frogs Surveys Coming Soon to Northern Wisconsin Wetlands

Mink frogs are a “Species of Special Concern” in Wisconsin, meaning their populations are low or declining. DNR’s Natural Heritage Conservation staff are actively tracking them, but we need your help to close information gaps.

Mink frogs often call during the day, outside the window when our Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey volunteers listen for frog calls. So we’re launching special surveys this summer for mink frogs from June 6 – July 15. The surveys will include two daytime surveys and two evening surveys. For information on  routes and how to be part of the survey can be found here.

Contact project coordinator Rori Paloski for more information.

CONTACT

Rori Paloski | Rori.Paloski@wi.gov

Homes Can Survive a Wildfire

With fire season still lingering in the north, the DNR has reported 53 structures destroyed by wildfires so far this year. The good news is, 439 were also threatened yet saved with firefighter assistance.

To find out if your home or cabin is a high wildfire risk area, ask yourself these questions: Is your place surrounded by oak or pine trees? Are your rain gutters full of pine needles? Is your lawn covered with leaves? Is there a Smokey Bear fire danger sign in your community?

If you answered “yes,” you might have some work to do! As we head into the long weekend, grab a rake and gloves, and take a peek at ways you can prepare your property for wildfire. Avoid burning by hauling the debris to a brush & leaf drop-off site or compost the material. https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestFire/preparing.html

Gypsy Moth Aerial Spraying Update (DNR)

Below is information about the Wisconsin DNR’s upcoming aerial suppression spray for gypsy moths in Dane County at sites in the cities of Madison and Sun Prairie.

WHAT: Aerial spraying for gypsy moth by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Gypsy Moth Suppression Program.

WHENSpraying is imminent in Dane County (Wednesday, April 23, 2018)

WHERE: Seven sites in Dane County, in the cities of Madison and Sun Prairie. Maps of spray sites can be viewed online at http://gypsymoth.wi.gov.

WHY: The spraying is necessary to suppress populations of gypsy moth, a destructive and invasive pest that feeds on the leaves of oaks, maples, crabapple, birch and many other species of trees and shrubs.

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Helpful Tips Can Help Wisconsin Homeowners Avoid Potential Conflicts with Black Bears

MADISON – Black bears have begun to emerge from their dens throughout Wisconsin and homeowners are encouraged to take precautions to avoid potential conflicts.

Black bears normally avoid contact with people, but when food sources are available bears can quickly learn to associate humans with food.

“Bear are opportunistic feeders and will take advantage of available food sources,” said Brad Koele, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife damage specialist. “Bird feeders, garbage cans, grills, and uncontained compost or pet food left outside can be targets for hungry bears – it’s important to make these attractants inaccessible to bear at all times of the year but particularly in the spring time when natural food sources are limited.”

Homeowners can follow these steps to avoid attracting black bears:

  • Do not knowingly feed a bear.
  • Completely remove bird feeders, even during daytime hours – bears are active during the day and may cause problems even if the feeders are out only during that time.
  • Clean areas where bird feeders were located so that accumulated deposits of spilled seed are removed.
  • Reduce garbage odors by rinsing food cans before putting them in covered recycling containers or garbage cans.
  • Keep meat scraps in the freezer until garbage day, and if possible, keep garbage cans in a closed building until the morning of pick-up.
  • Be sure to lock commercial dumpsters.
  • Keep pet food inside or inaccessible to bears even during daytime hours.
  • Keep barbeque grills and picnic tables clean.

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Free Fun Weekend June 2 & 3

Free Fun Weekend in Wisconsin is Saturday June 2 and Sunday June 3. During this weekend residents and visitors can fish, hike and bike trails, gain admission to state parks and forests, and use public ATV trails all for free! Additionally, more than 50 of the state parks will have free fishing equipment available for loan & some parks are offering extra events.

Offerings for the weekend include:

  • No fishing license is needed to fish any waters. This includes inland trout and Great Lakes trout and salmon fishing, which normally would require a trout stamp in addition to a license. Fishing rules such as limits on the size and species of fish that can be kept do apply, however.
  • All state trail pass fees on all DNR-owned state trails are waived and cooperatively-run state trails also may waive fees.
  • All state park vehicle admission sticker fees on all DNR-owned properties are waived.
  • ATV registration and trail pass fees are waived.
  • Free fishing equipment is available for loan at more than 50 state parks, DNR offices, and partner organizations, and free fishing clinics are scheduled at many state parks and popular waters
  • The Friends of the Pike Lake Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest are holding Discovery Day on Saturday with geocaching, archery, t-shirt painting, a wildlife show, kayak demos, telescope viewing, fishing and hiking
  • The Friends of Willow River and Kinnickinnic State Parks are holding Art Along the Willow on Sunday at Willow River State Park with more than 40 art and craft vendors, kids activities and concessions

See the full details of the weekend here.