FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2018

Health Department: State's Lyme disease cases surge last year

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The Pennsylvania Department of Health released a report last week on 2014's Lyme disease cases by county.

The report showed a 25 percent increase in cases overall throughout the state, with 7,400 total cases last year, compared with 5,900 cases in 2013.

Health experts attribute the surge to better reporting, improved awareness of Lyme disease and heightened monitoring efforts, especially in Allegheny County.

People contract Lyme disease from the bite of the blacklegged tick, commonly known as a deer tick, that is infected with the disease. Symptoms include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, joint pain and headaches. There is also a red rash that is similar to a bull's-eye near the tick bite.

Dr. Karen Murphy, the state's secretary of health, held a press conference in Pittsburgh with Dr. Karen Hacker, the Allegheny County Health Department's director, to release the report.

“Lyme disease is present in every county in Pennsylvania,” Murphy said. “The prevalence of this illness serves as a reminder for people to better protect themselves from tick bites and to know the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease. For those with the disease, it is important to seek early treatment to avoid any potential long-term health complications.”

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Pennsylvania Department of Health

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