Ticks are parasitic anthropods known to be vectors of many diseases.
In Pennsylvania, there are 25 different species of ticks.
The four most common species are:

  • Deer ticks, Ixodes scapularis
  • Dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis
  • Groundhog tick, Ixodes cookie
  • Lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum

Different species of ticks are known to transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, tularemia, and Powassan virus.  Preliminary studies even suggest that the Lone star tick's bite may be the cause of recent rises of meat allergies in adults.

It is important to be vigilant for ticks after working or playing outside.
Conduct full-body tick checks and examine gear and pets for ticks.

Lyme Disease

  • In the United States, Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne illness.
  • Pennsylvania has historically ranked in the top 3 states for Lyme Disease.
  • Deer ticks (AKA: blacklegged ticks or Ixodes scapularis) are the main vector of Lyme disease.
  • Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which ticks often carry and transmit to humans.
  • A study in 2012 found 52% of ticks tested positive for Borrelia burgdorferi.
  • The deer tick must be attached and feeding for 24 to 48 hours to transmit Lyme disease.
  • High densities of mice and deer allow for tick populations to expand and disperse, increasing the likelihood of humans being bitten.

In the past, very little control and prevention has been done to keep the public safe.  Last year, new legislation was signed to address this need.

New Legislation

In November of 2014,Senate Bill #177, The Lyme and Related Tick-Borne Disease Surveillance, Education, Prevention Act was signed.  This act is the result of many years of advocacy. 
    Creation of the Lyme Disease Task Force

  • Taskforce of medical personal to improve care and prevention
  • Develop a public education program 
  • Develop surveillance, testing, and prevention program
  • Multiple agency collaboration:
    • Health Department 
    • Game Commission
    • Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
    • Department of Education 
    • Department of Environmental Protection

The act did not yet allocate funds for this project.  Currently each department will absorb the work costs until specific programs are developed. The senate appropriation committee's fiscal note suggests the operation, laboratory testing, and implementation of tick surveys and control may cost up to 3 million dollars.

Public support is critical to help get this vital service operational and funded.
For more information:
CDC on Ticks
   Ticks and Diseases Factsheet
   Tick Legislation