Cases Of Lyme Disease In Pennsylvania Growing

By: Dr. Maria Simbra

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The season for bare arms and bare legs is upon us; and apparently, so is Lyme disease with Pennsylvania in the bull’s eye.

“Pennsylvania is a beautiful state, lots of parks and lots of places to wander,” says Dr. Andrew Nowalk, an infectious diseases specialist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. “So, if you put those deer and those ticks in contact with Pennsylvanians more frequently, we’re certainly going to see more cases in adults and in children.”

The tick that carries the illness is moving away from the coast and into the interior.

“Allegheny County used to be a fairly protected area for Lyme disease, and that’s no longer the case. The northern counties, like Butler and Beaver, the Dubois area, we see a lot of people being infected in those areas,” says Dr. Nowalk.

The cases of this infection have grown 78 percent in Pennsylvania over the past 10 years.

“We’ve seen double digit cases the last few years, many of them being hospitalized for the complications of their disease,” Dr. Nowalk added.

A classic bull’s eye rash, joint pain, heart problems, even meningitis can be signs of Lyme disease. Luckily, it can be treated with antibiotics.

So far, the health department is only aware of one case in Allegheny County this year. There were 18 reported cases last year.

Dr. Nowalk believes doctors just aren’t telling the health department, especially in simple cases.

Protect yourself with bug spray and thorough tick checks.

“Look under their hairlines, look on their body for places a tick might hide,” advises Dr. Nowalk. “If you can get the tick off pretty quickly, there’s no chance it’s going to transmit Lyme disease.”

Children’s Hospital
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One Comment

  1. Sky Isfallin says:

    Stink Bugs! Bed Bugs! Ticks! Horse Heads in the streets!!!!! We’re all gonna die…..tune in at 11 for more faces of death!

  2. Bill says:

    Lyme Disease WILL harm more people than AIDS in the near future !!!!!!!!!!! It will be the next epidemic !!!! The government has its head in the sand !!!!! Peace

  3. Sherry says:

    My husband was in the E.R. last week for suspected lyme’s disease. His test came back negative a few days later. They are treating him for cellulitis and the mark on his arm is getting bigger. It’s now starting to look like a “bull’s eye”. He is done his Bactrim for suspected cellulitis. He’s getting worse and I am very worried. He’s stubborn and won’t go back to the E.R. He says they are just really stupid and ignorant after telling them he went turkey hunting a few weeks ago in Bucks County and had some type of bite on his arm. They should just treat him for lyme’s! I just hope he doesn’t end up with meningitis. I am a new nurse and I even told them it has to be lyme’s. No one seems to listen.

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