NYC's tick attack plan aims at Staten Island

New York City officials laid out more aggressive measures to combat Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, starting on Staten Island.

"We are doubling the number of parks that we are surveying to be ahead of this problem to know where the ticks are so we can go at them and address them," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "We're adding Department of Health staff to our parks teams that are already on the front line addressing this issue. We're deploying insecticides in parks where Lyme disease is more likely to occur—these are the bait boxes."

The mayor said that the number of cases confirmed citywide continues to rise with Staten Island showing the sharpest increase among the five boroughs.

Deer and mice help spread ticks but Dr. Mary Bassett, the city's health commissioner, said she believes climate may also be a factor.

"It's getting warmer. It's easier for ticks to survive in this warm weather," Bassett said. "It's easier for mice to survive."

Lyme disease is a debilitating bacterial illness caused by a tick bite. So the city is reminding all New Yorkers to check for ticks each time they come in from parks and green spaces.

Staten Island Borough President James Oddo said that some experts believe the 400,000 Lyme disease cases nationwide is exponentially under-reported.

"And that is an issue we have to get better at on Staten Island and in the city of New York," Oddo said.