Brooks Resolution Draws Attention to Lyme Disease and Tick-Borne Illnesses

HARRISBURG – May 2024 is Lyme Disease and Tick-Borne Illness Month in Pennsylvania, thanks to a resolution introduced by Sen. Michele Brooks (R-50) as part of her ongoing effort to improve the health and quality of life of commonwealth residents.

“With families looking to spend time outdoors this Memorial Day weekend, Pennsylvanians need to know about the dangers and seriousness associated with tick bites and Lyme disease,” Brooks said. “This resolution is intended to increase awareness and protect Pennsylvania families. We are blessed in Pennsylvania to have wonderful land and beautiful waterways that provide countless opportunities for outdoor recreational activities. That also makes our commonwealth a hotbed for tick-borne disease transmission. Pennsylvanians and visitors should know how to protect themselves against this threat and steps to take when bitten by a tick.”

Lyme disease is prevalent in the commonwealth, with cases reported in all 67 counties. Pennsylvania reports more Lyme disease cases than any other state according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show Pennsylvania had the highest incidence of Lyme disease in the United States in 10 of the past 11 years. Approximately one in four cases of Lyme disease occur in children, with children ages five to nine at the greatest risk.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection primarily transmitted to humans through an infected blacklegged tick bite. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a rash. Untreated infections can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system.

Ticks pose other threats in addition to Lyme disease. Nearly 55% of ticks tested in Pennsylvania in 2022 were infected with at least one tick-borne pathogen.

Brooks introduced Senate Resolution 287 as part of her larger effort to enhance awareness about and reduce the spread of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses in Pennsylvania.

She sponsored Senate Bill 232 to provide parents and guardians with the information necessary for diagnosis and treatment after a tick is removed from their child at school. The bill would require school officials to notify parents in writing about the tick removal and provide information about the symptoms of Lyme disease. The notification would include the date of the tick removal and the recommendation that the child’s parent or guardian promptly seek medical treatment.

The bill also states that the tick must be preserved for the student’s parent or guardian to send to East Stroudsburg University’s tick lab for free testing for tick-related diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Powassan virus. The school also has the option of sending the tick for testing.

The bill was approved by the state Senate and currently is awaiting consideration in the House Education Committee.

Residents can learn more about how to submit a tick sample and the test results that are often necessary for doctors to pursue treatment at

CONTACT: Adam Gingrich, 717-787-1322

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