Vineyard Medical Services’ tick bite protocol

To the Editor:

Nelson Sigelman’s article [Gone huntin': Deer season carries risks for the hunter and the hunted, January 3] on deer ticks and the risk to hunters is filled with valuable information and advice. The incidence of tick-borne diseases and tick bites has reached epidemic proportions on the Vineyard. Many people are unaware of the time the initial tick bite occurred, but know if they have removed an attached or imbedded adult or nymphal deer tick within three days of their office visit.

Vineyard Medical Services therefore prescribes post exposure antibiotic prophylaxis to all persons with known deer tick bites, if we see them within this 72-hour period. We give Doxycyline (200-mg orally as a single dose), providing they have no symptoms or signs of Lyme disease, are not pregnant or breast feeding, are not allergic to Tetracycline and are over the age of eight.

We believe this treatment along with the recommendations on the Martha’s Vineyard boards of health web site, http://www.mvboh.org/tbioverview, will significantly reduce the incidence of Lyme Disease.

Michael Jacobs MD

Gerald Yukevich MD

Vineyard Medical Services