Where is Lyme Disease Most Prevalent in Pennsylvania? A New Online Tool Tracks Tick-Borne Illnesses

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team

 

 

 

 

In Pennsylvania, Lyme disease is a significant concern due to its high prevalence. The state’s Department of Health has taken a proactive approach by launching an online tool to address this issue.

This innovative dashboard provides real-time information on where ticks, the carriers of Lyme disease, are most prevalent. It’s a valuable resource for anyone planning outdoor activities, offering insights into areas with higher risks of tick-borne illnesses.

Dr. Debra Bogen, the acting health secretary, emphasized the importance of enjoying outdoor activities safely. She highlighted the need for taking precautions, especially for vulnerable groups like children and pets. As a pediatrician herself, Dr. Bogen stressed the significance of doing a thorough tick check after spending time outside.

Lyme disease is alarmingly common in Pennsylvania, with around 100,000 reported cases annually, though the actual numbers could be higher. According to the CDC, Lyme disease is the most prevalent vector-borne illness in the United States, primarily transmitted through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.

Recognizing the symptoms of Lyme disease is crucial. They include a distinct bull’s eye rash, along with headaches, muscle pain, fever, chills, and swollen lymph nodes. While antibiotics can effectively treat Lyme disease, there’s currently no vaccine available.

It’s essential to note that a minority of individuals, around 5-10%, may experience prolonged symptoms, such as fatigue, body aches, and cognitive difficulties, even after treatment.

To minimize the risk of contracting Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, the Pennsylvania Department of Health recommends several preventive measures.

These include checking gear, clothing, and pets for ticks after outdoor activities, conducting a thorough body check, promptly removing any ticks found, and practicing good hygiene by showering soon after outdoor exposure. Additionally, tumble-drying clothes on high heat for ten minutes can kill any ticks present.

By following these recommendations and utilizing the resources provided by the Department of Health, Pennsylvanians can enjoy the state’s natural beauty safely and responsibly, knowing they’re taking proactive steps to protect themselves and their loved ones from Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

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