Pennsylvania has led the nation in the number of reported lyme disease cases for at least five consecutive years. And now, preliminary information indicates the trend is continuing.
The Centers for Disease Control released preliminary figures this past week, which showed more than 12,000 cases of tick-borne lyme disease in the Keystone State. But April Hutchison, with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, says final numbers won’t be out until May.
“What the report really highlights for us is the constant reminder that ticks are around all year round and that ticks with lyme disease have been identified in all 67 Pennsylvania counties,” Hutchinson said. “So it’s important to stay vigilant in your personal protection efforts, especially when you’re going to be outdoors.”
She says that includes using DEET, an insect repellant, wearing long sleeve clothing, and checking for ticks when you’ve been outside. Hutchison also says if you are bitten by a tick, keep an eye on it for thirty days.
Hutchison says symptoms include a red bulls-eye rash around the bite site and flu-like symptoms. If you develop symptoms, she says, go to your doctor immediately.