Lyme disease is now endemic in Massachusetts, with 2,000 to 4,000 officially confirmed cases and as many as 10,000 additional unconfirmed cases each year, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. But the disease is not spread uniformly across the state, with Cape Cod and the Islands particularly hard hit.In a June 28 interview with radio station WBUR, William Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, said it is critical that the state gain an accurate picture of the number of people who have lyme disease as well as the number of new infections.“To really frame a response, to get an idea of what the threat is, to be able to apportion scarce funds, and also to be able to communicate risk to the public, it’s important to know just what the burden of the disease is,” Hanage said.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) at 10 am on Thursday, October 6, 2011, will close a small section of Route 14 in East Montpelier that was damaged by spring flooding and exacerbated by Tropical Storm Irene. The road is expected to remain closed into November. Route 14 between its intersection with Route 2 and Northstar Fireworks was restricted to one lane on September 26 due to the roadway beginning to slide into the Winooski River. Engineers originally believed the road could be repaired while maintaining one lane of traffic, but the roadway continues to undermine. Electronic message boards beginning Wednesday will warn motorists of the coming closure. ‘All the rain we had over the past week exacerbated the situation, and earth is now disappearing from underneath the road at an accelerated rate,’ said VTrans Secretary Brian Searles. ‘We have already lost about three feet of asphalt, and there is no longer room to safely have both traffic and construction vehicles in the same area.’ All commercial vehicles will be rerouted to Route 302 regardless of their destination, while pleasure vehicles can use Route 302 to reach Montpelier or Country Club Road to reach Plainfield. VTrans plans to keep Route 14 passable for emergency vehicles. While the agency hopes to keep one-way traffic flowing until 10 a.m. Thursday, roadway workers will continually monitor the situation and reevaluate plans. The agency will close the road without warning anytime if it believes public safety could be compromised. For up-to-date information on storm-related openings and closings, people can call VTrans recovery call center at 1-800-866-7099 or go to the agency’s homepage at www.aot.state.vt.us(link is external) where they can sign up for alerts pushed to their mobile phone. You can also follow VTrans’ recovery efforts on both Facebook and Twitter.