Residents are encouraged to protect themselves against tick-borne diseases as infection rates are on the rise across Pennsylvania – WGAL Susquehanna Valley Pa.

TICKBORNE DISEASES AND WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IF YOU GET BIT. QUICK STEAT DEPARTMENT SAYS8% 5 OF PENNSYLVANIA’S MOST COMMON LIKEEG L TICKS ARE INFECTED WITH SOME SORT OF ILLNESS, INCLUDING LYME DISEASE ANDHE T RARE BUT DANGEROUS DEER TICK VIRUS. >> IT IS ALARMING TO SEE THE INFECTION RATES OF THESE HOTSPOTSOR F DEER TICK VIRUS INCREASE THAT MUCH. >> THE PREVIOUS HIGHEST INFECTION RATE FOUND AT A SINGLE LOCATION IN PENNSYLVANIA WAS 11%. THIS YEAR, TEEHR SESIT HAD AN INFECTION RATE EXCEEDING 80% OF TICKS SAMPLED. THIS RATE IS ALARMING, BUT UNCOMMON ACROSS THE STE.AT >> I REALLY, REALLY BELIEVE DEER TICK VIRUS IS CIRCULATING THROUGHOUT THE COMMONWEALTH AT VERY LOW LEVELS. EXPERTS CONTINUE TO STRESS THE PREVALENCE OF LYME DISEASE IN THE STATE. >> PENNSYLVANIA TENDS TO REPORT MORE LYME DIASSEE CASES THAN ANY OTHER STATE. >> THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SAYS LYME DISEASE IS EASILY TREATABLE WITH ANTIBIOTICS IN ITS EARLY STAGES SO BE ON THE LOOKOUT RFO SYMPTOMS. >> INITIAL PRESEATNTION IS VERY SIMILAR TO THE FLU. FEVER, HEADACHES, BODY ACH,ES JOINT ACHES. >> IF YOU DO FIND A TICK, MAKE SURE TO REMOVE IT WITH FINE-TIP TWEEZERS GRABBING IT AS CLOSE TO THE SKIN AS POSSIBLE AND PULNGLI UP NEVER GRAB IT BY THE ABDOMEN. , >> YOU GRAB THE TICK BY THE ABDOMEN WITH TWEEZERS, THERE’S SLIGHT ELEVATED RISK IT CAN EXPEL ANY KIND OF PATHOGENS THAT IT HAS INT

Residents are encouraged to protect themselves against tick-borne diseases as infection rates are on the rise across Pennsylvania

As the weather gets warmer and more Pennsylvanians venture outside, state officials are encouraging them to protect themselves against potentially serious tick-borne diseases.Those diseases include Lyme disease and the rare but dangerous deer tick virus, which has been found in ticks at high levels for the first time in multiple locations around the state. “Lyme disease has been present in all 67 counties for some time, and unfortunately, the prevalence of the very serious deer tick virus appears to be increasing in some tick populations,” Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell said.PrecautionsRecommended precautions for anyone going outside include:Apply tick repellents containing permethrin to clothing and EPA-registered insect repellents, such as DEET, to exposed skin before going outdoors. Reapply as needed according to product instructions.Wear light-colored outer clothing. Tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks.Walk in the centers of trails. Avoid wooded and brushy areas with low-growing vegetation and tall grasses that may harbor ticks.After returning home, remove all clothing, take a shower and place clothing into the dryer on high heat to kill any lingering ticks. Examine gear for ticks.Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand mirror or full-length mirror, including hidden areas such as the scalp, ears, armpits, belly button and between the legs.Check any pets exposed to likely tick habitats each time they return indoors.If a tick is found attached to your skin, use tweezers to remove it carefully, including the head. Monitor for symptoms and contact your doctor with any questions.For more information about tick-borne disease prevention, visit the Department of Health’s Tickborne Diseases website.DTV in PennsylvaniaDEP’s Tick Surveillance and Testing Program has detected unusually high infection rates of DTV in adult tick samples recently taken from three sites:Fisherman’s Paradise public fishing area on Spring Creek in Centre County.Iroquois Trail near Tunkhannock in Wyoming County.Lawrence Township Recreational Park in Clearfield County.At each of these locations, the infection rate exceeded 80% of ticks sampled, officials said.DTV has been detected in 15 Pennsylvania counties, and the statewide infection rate outside of the three hotspots is currently 0.6% of ticks sampled.”By learning where ticks live, seeking treatment if experiencing symptoms, and following the best practices for prevention, we can avoid cases of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses,” Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said. “The Department of Health estimates that there is at least one Lyme disease case for every 100 people in Pennsylvania every year. Lyme disease can cause flu-like symptoms and a rash in the early stages, but the infection could spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system if not addressed. If you are experiencing symptoms, I encourage you to see your health care provider right away.” Officials said black-legged ticks, also called deer ticks, are active even in winter when temperatures are in the mid-30s and above.DEP has posted signs to alert the public and will conduct control measures and additional testing to reduce and monitor the number of ticks present in the recreational areas with high positivity rates for DTV. DTV transmission, symptomsOfficials said the deer tick virus, which is a type of Powassan virus, is rare in the U.S., but positive cases have increased in recent years. It is spread to people primarily by bites from infected ticks and does not spread person-to-person.Powassan virus can be transmitted from tick to human in as little as 15 minutes after a bite occurs. Other tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, take much longer to cause infection – often 24 hours or more after the tick attaches to the host.There are no vaccines to prevent or medicines to treat Powassan viruses. Preventing tick bites is the best way to reduce risk of infection and disease. Initial symptoms of a DTV infection may include fever, headache, vomiting and weakness. Some people who are infected with DTV experience no symptoms, so the infection may go undetected. However, 91% of patients treated for DTV infections develop severe neuroinvasive disease. Those who exhibit severe disease from deer tick virus may experience encephalitis or meningitis and require hospitalization, with symptoms including confusion, loss of coordination, difficulty speaking or seizures.About 12% of people with severe disease have died. Approximately half of survivors of severe disease have suffered long-term health impacts.For more information about the health impacts of DTV, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Powassan virus website.

As the weather gets warmer and more Pennsylvanians venture outside, state officials are encouraging them to protect themselves against potentially serious tick-borne diseases.

Those diseases include Lyme disease and the rare but dangerous deer tick virus, which has been found in ticks at high levels for the first time in multiple locations around the state.

“Lyme disease has been present in all 67 counties for some time, and unfortunately, the prevalence of the very serious deer tick virus appears to be increasing in some tick populations,” Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell said.

Precautions

Recommended precautions for anyone going outside include:

  • Apply tick repellents containing permethrin to clothing and EPA-registered insect repellents, such as DEET, to exposed skin before going outdoors. Reapply as needed according to product instructions.
  • Wear light-colored outer clothing. Tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks.
  • Walk in the centers of trails. Avoid wooded and brushy areas with low-growing vegetation and tall grasses that may harbor ticks.
  • After returning home, remove all clothing, take a shower and place clothing into the dryer on high heat to kill any lingering ticks. Examine gear for ticks.
  • Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand mirror or full-length mirror, including hidden areas such as the scalp, ears, armpits, belly button and between the legs.
  • Check any pets exposed to likely tick habitats each time they return indoors.
  • If a tick is found attached to your skin, use tweezers to remove it carefully, including the head. Monitor for symptoms and contact your doctor with any questions.

For more information about tick-borne disease prevention, visit the Department of Health’s Tickborne Diseases website.

DTV in Pennsylvania

DEP’s Tick Surveillance and Testing Program has detected unusually high infection rates of DTV in adult tick samples recently taken from three sites:

  • Fisherman’s Paradise public fishing area on Spring Creek in Centre County.
  • Iroquois Trail near Tunkhannock in Wyoming County.
  • Lawrence Township Recreational Park in Clearfield County.

At each of these locations, the infection rate exceeded 80% of ticks sampled, officials said.

DTV has been detected in 15 Pennsylvania counties, and the statewide infection rate outside of the three hotspots is currently 0.6% of ticks sampled.

“By learning where ticks live, seeking treatment if experiencing symptoms, and following the best practices for prevention, we can avoid cases of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses,” Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said. “The Department of Health estimates that there is at least one Lyme disease case for every 100 people in Pennsylvania every year. Lyme disease can cause flu-like symptoms and a rash in the early stages, but the infection could spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system if not addressed. If you are experiencing symptoms, I encourage you to see your health care provider right away.”

Officials said black-legged ticks, also called deer ticks, are active even in winter when temperatures are in the mid-30s and above.

DEP has posted signs to alert the public and will conduct control measures and additional testing to reduce and monitor the number of ticks present in the recreational areas with high positivity rates for DTV.

DTV transmission, symptoms

Officials said the deer tick virus, which is a type of Powassan virus, is rare in the U.S., but positive cases have increased in recent years. It is spread to people primarily by bites from infected ticks and does not spread person-to-person.

Powassan virus can be transmitted from tick to human in as little as 15 minutes after a bite occurs. Other tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, take much longer to cause infection – often 24 hours or more after the tick attaches to the host.

There are no vaccines to prevent or medicines to treat Powassan viruses. Preventing tick bites is the best way to reduce risk of infection and disease.

Initial symptoms of a DTV infection may include fever, headache, vomiting and weakness. Some people who are infected with DTV experience no symptoms, so the infection may go undetected. However, 91% of patients treated for DTV infections develop severe neuroinvasive disease.

Those who exhibit severe disease from deer tick virus may experience encephalitis or meningitis and require hospitalization, with symptoms including confusion, loss of coordination, difficulty speaking or seizures.

About 12% of people with severe disease have died. Approximately half of survivors of severe disease have suffered long-term health impacts.

For more information about the health impacts of DTV, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Powassan virus website.

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