|By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne)
Working to address the ongoing threat of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases in the Commonwealth, the House Health Committee held a public hearing in East Stroudsburg this past week.
Pennsylvania has led the nation in confirmed cases of Lyme for three straight years and ticks carrying the disease have been found in all 67 counties.
The committee heard from health and wildlife professionals, local officials, advocates for tick-borne disease treatment and awareness, and officials with East Stroudsburg University’s (ESU) Tick Research Lab.
Testimony focused heavily on the importance of early diagnosis and treatment in helping people successfully recover from Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Three bills designed to help combat the disease were also highlighted, including one that would require nurses to remove a tick when it is found on a child during the school day and to notify parents; one that would require continuing education for physicians; and one to require health insurers to cover recommended treatments that may include short-term or long-term courses of antibiotics.
Committee members participating in the hearing also learned more about ESU’s tick lab, which provides a free base test on ticks submitted for Lyme disease as well as three additional tests based on the species of tick. Pennsylvania residents can send a tick sample to the lab and receive the test results. These samples can be mailed to 562 Independence Road, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301.
For more information about tick-borne diseases or how to submit a tick for testing, visit www.ticklab.org
Representative Tarah Toohil
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office