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Lyme disease sees signficant up-tick in Pennsylvania

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010



By Aaron Moselle

Local health officials say the number of Lyme disease cases in Pennsylvania this year will likely eclipse figures from 2009.

Melissa Rankin works for the Chester County Health Department. She says the number of Lyme disease cases in Pennsylvania has increased every year over the past five.

In 2008, more than 3,000 residents contracted the tick-borne bacterial disease.

Relative sizes of tick species. The Blacklegged (or deer) ticks can transmit Lyme as well as other diseases. (Click for a larger image. Photo courtesy of the CDC)

Relative sizes of ticks. The Blacklegged (or deer) ticks can transmits Lyme Disease. (Click for a larger image. Photo courtesy of the CDC)

In 2009, that number more than doubled.

But Rankin says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that only one in every 10 cases is reported.

“So that means in the state of Pennsylvania, in 2009, we had close to 8,000 cases,” says Rankin. “If you say only one in 10 are confirmed, that could mean that we probably had closer to 80,000 cases of Lyme disease.”

Rankin says correctly diagnosing Lyme disease is difficult because test results are often unreliable. This, she says, results in many cases going unreported.


7 Comments

  • YOLANDA WOLFEL says:

    ELK AND CAMERON COUNTIES HERE IN PENNSYLVANIA HAVE THE MOST CASES OF LYME DISEASE IN THE STATE FOR THE PAST 20 YEARS. PENNA. LEADS THE NATION WITH THE MOST CASES. WE WERE “THIRD “UNTIL RECENTLY. WE HAVE SURPASSED “AIDS” AS AN INFECTIOUS DISEASE.MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE CHRONIC LYME DISASE FOR THE PAST 20 SOME YEARS. WE WERE MISDIAGNOSED SINCE 1967.WE HAVE THE NORTH CENTRAL PENNA. LYME DISEASE SUPPORT AND INFORMATION YOLANDA D. WOLFEL 185 CENTER ST. APT .701 SAINT MARYS, PA. 15857 TEL 814-781-6332

  • Patrick says:

    Great information on the protecting yourself from Deer ticks! If you think you may have been bitten by a tick or suffer from Lyme related symptoms. Be sure to get tested! May is Lyme disease awareness month.

    Central Florida Research lab’s Lyme disease Antigen test is nearly 20% more accurate than traditional Lyme disease tests. Read more about CFR
    s Antigen test by flow cytometry on their website:
    http://centralfloridaresearch.com/antigen-lyme-test

  • I appreciate seeing your article on Lyme. People should be aware that the traditional tests are about 50% reliable. A lab in Milford, CT is now using DNA testing for early Lyme detection. Here’s an interview with the doctor who invented the DNA test: http://www.lyme-disease-research-database.com/lyme_disease_blog_files/lyme-dna-test.html

    • Bill says:

      Also, consider using a specialty lab for lyme testing such as Igenex or MedLabs in NJ. Also, keep testing if necessary as timing is everything and you may go “positive” after some time has passed. Always ask for BOTH the elisa screen and the western blot.

  • Ernest says:

    Be on the lookout for Deer ticks! Although they are tiny and hard to spot, you can do a lot to protect yourself from this disease. Apply bug spray (especially Permethrin based one, which work better against ticks than DEET). Stay out of long grass and wooded areas. Tuck pant legs into socks, and check for ticks when you come inside. If you have a back yard or garden, keep deer out (easier said than done, I know), and limit areas where mice might roam as much as possible. That means keep grass really short, and get rid of woodpiles, scruffy leaf litter, etc. Mice are one of the main vectors of this disease. Consider getting Tick Tubes (www.ticktubes.com) which are a targeted way to get rid of ticks on your property. They use the nesting instincts of mice to deliver the pesticide, but are harmless to mammals. They work great.

    • Bill says:

      Do no apply Permethrin based insect repelant directly to your skin. You spray it on your clothes and wear the clothes after they dry. I buy my spray at an outdoor store.

      I also stopped using the tick tubes and built my own using PVC cut into 5in pieces stuffed with cotton that I sprayed with Permethrin. I saved a lot of money.

    • Terry says:

      Thanks so much for the information about the tick tubes. I have dachshunds which a low to the ground and I already found a tick on one.
      Thank you for sharing such useful information!

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