According to NY State Law, an imminent threat is "a wide spread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property resulting from any natural or man-made causes ." That's why on August 24, when a mosquito tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services "requested the Health Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health to confirm a declaration of an Imminent Threat to Public Health for Suffolk County. Such designation will permit the county to take steps to control mosquito populations. ."
This request enabled Suffolk County Parks apply pesticides. "In a situation in which a written declaration has been issued by the Commissioner of the County Department of Health Services that a public emergency exists requiring the temporary use of a particular pesticide during the period of such public emergency. The Commissioner must, in such an emergency, use the least toxic approach to the health issue that the Commissioner believes is adequate to address the emergency. After taking such action, the Commissioner shall document in a report, within 30 days, the steps taken to resolve the emergency, the nature of the emergency, the cause and effect of this emergency, and how and why such pesticidal actions were taken. The Commissioner shall also report how the problem causing the health emergency arose and what steps and procedures the County is taking to ensure that a similar problem will not occur again ."
Further, "if the state commissioner or a county health department or part-county department of health or municipality, with the approval of the state commissioner, determines that there is an imminent threat to public health, the department shall reimburse counties or municipalities at fifty per centum for the cost of emergency measures as approved by the department and subject to the approval of the director of the budget, except that aerial spraying for mosquitoes on state land shall be reimbursed at one hundred per centum, within amounts appropriated ."
If ticks bites were considered an imminent threat, then it would also enable a similar reaction. NY State includes tick borne diseases on their communicable diseases fact sheet list, along with West Nile . But because there was no declaration regarding tick bites, funding for a tick management pilot program at Indian Island Park had to take a legislative route, and it failed. "An initiative spearheaded by Ms. Fleming and sought this year by Messrs. LaValle and Thiele for $500,000 for a Lyme disease 'surveillance and management program' in Suffolk failed to be included in the new state budget. ."
We need to stop tick bites now. As the water warms, we are the frogs blinking our eyes. Let's turn up the heat, not of climate change, but in declaring that ticks bites are an imminent threat, enabling improved resource response (not just for Suffolk County, but for all of New York).
 - Mosquito Sample Test Positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus
 - Suffolk County Pest Control - 647-3 - Exemptions
 - NY Consolidated Laws, Public Health Law - State aid; public health emergencies
 - NY Department of Health - Communicable Disease Fact Sheets
 - Forbidding Forecast For Lyme Disease in the Northeast