Watch: Tick activity high throughout PA; prevention measures you can take

Regional News

(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — The Wolf Administration on Tuesday highlighted the prevalence of ticks and tick-borne diseases throughout Pennsylvania.

Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson, Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell, and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn discussed ticks, tick-borne diseases and prevention measures at Boyd Big Tree Preserve and Conservation Area Tuesday afternoon.

“Ticks are most active during warmer months, which is why we typically see more instances of tick bites and cases of tick-borne diseases this time of year,” Dr. Johnson said. “This year, in particular, we are seeing increases in the number of Lyme disease reports across the state, and clinicians are reporting that they are seeing more cases of other tick-borne diseases, such as anaplasmosis. As Pennsylvanians continue to spend more time outdoors, we are urging everyone to take steps to prevent tick bites, such as wearing insect repellent, putting permethrin on their shoes, gear and clothing, and do frequent tick checks.” 

The PA Tick Research Lab posted on Facebook July 23rd that tick activity remains high this week due to warm temperatures.

Tick activity was high last week as well.

The DEP collected two times more Blacklegged tick nymphs compared to last year. This DOH says this is especially concerning considering the extremely small, poppy seed-like size of the nymphs. 

“The increase in nymphs really drives home the message that we all need to adhere to the necessary precautions to stay safe from ticks,” said McDonnell. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Health and CDC has some tips for identifying and preventing Lyme Disease.

Symptoms

Early symptoms (3 to 30 days after tick bite) include:

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • joint pain
  • skin rash that looks like a bull’s eye (occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected persons)
  • other general symptoms may occur in the absence of rash

Prevention

  • Cover exposed skin with lightweight and light-colored clothing 
  • Avoid tick-infested habitats such as areas dense with shrubbery or tall grass 
  • Use an EPA-approved insect repellent  
  • Once returning home, immediately check yourself, children, and pets for ticks  
  • Take a shower immediately to remove ticks that may be crawling on skin  
  • If possible, dry clothing and gear in a dryer to kill any ticks  

You can submit a tick for testing here.

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