State Department of Health Issues Recommendations Regarding Lyme Disease and Other Tickborne Diseases

For the first time, blacklegged (deer) ticks have now been observed in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania, according to researchers at the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

On May 6, 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) sent out a health advisory to all Pennsylvania physicians subscribed to receive alerts through its PA Health Alert Network (PA HAN).

DOH recommends:

  1. Recognition that Pennsylvania has one of the highest incidences of Lyme Disease in the nation during the last five years and that the blacklegged tick or deer tick is in all 67 counties. Please recognize that from May through August the aggressive nymph stage of the deer tick is active. Nymphs are very small, about the size of a poppy seed and easy to miss unless they become engorged with blood.
  2. When signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease are present, act quickly. Diagnosis and treatment of early Lyme Disease when erythema migrans or other rash is present may be based solely on clinical suspicion because diagnostic serologies (including IgM) may not yet be positive.
  3. Prevention of disease through use of DEET insect repellent, wearing long pants and sleeves outdoors, and most importantly daily tick checks followed by prompt removal of any ticks
  4. Awareness that recent reports of sudden cardiac death attributed to Lyme Disease carditis highlight the importance of prompt diagnosis and treatment of Lyme Disease.

Report all tickborne diseases, confirmed or suspected, to DOH through Pennsylvania’s web-based electronic disease surveillance system, PA-NEDSS.