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PA ranks highest in nation for Lyme disease

Updated: Tuesday, August 20 2013, 05:50 PM CDT
Reported by: Christina Butler

YORK -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a new estimate of people impacted by Lyme disease is 10 times higher than previously thought. The new number jumps from 30,000 to 300,000 cases per year.

The jump is attributed to surveys, insurance records, and an overall previous under-reporting or misdiagnosis of the disease.

Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through bites from deer ticks, which are also known as black legged ticks. Pennsylvania ranks high on the list of states with infections. 

Tom Smith is with Penn State Extension. He explains that ticks latch onto rodents when they are first born, and then cling to deer during cooler months. So far, he says, no research has shown that Lyme disease comes from anything other than a tick bite. 

Unlike surrounding states, Pennsylvania does not have state funding to research the disease. Senate Bill #177 could change that. It’s currently in the state house, and if passed it would form a task force to research the disease, how it spreads, where it spreads, and educate the public along with medical professionals. 
PA ranks highest in nation for Lyme disease


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