Studies by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection show the state continues to be number one in reported cases of Lyme disease in the U.S., with cases increasing each year. This year will be no exception, with the CDC reporting that the combination of last year’s large white-footed mouse population and the mild winter will result in an even larger increase of infected ticks.
Bucks County Lyme holds support group meetings at 4 p.m. on the third Sunday of each month at the Middletown Municipal Building in Langhorne. Those that can’t make a meeting this summer can follow these simple and important prevention tips.
by Jack Firneno
Summer is a time for people to enjoy the outdoors. But for many in Pennsylvania, there’s a dangerous underbelly to the season.
There were 7,351 reported cases of Lyme Disease in Pennsylvania in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s up from 6,470 in 2014, making the state by far the highest in the nation for documented incidences.
Southeastern Pennsylvania has been hit especially hard: Bucks County alone had 287 cases in 2014 and 454 in 2015, with Montgomery County showing 384 and 409, respectively. Even more alarming is the CDC’s acknowledgement that Lyme infections are underreported.
The disease, along with a host of possible bacterial co-infections, is transmitted through bites from blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks.
For local residents affected by Lyme disease, the support group BucksCo. Lyme meets at the Middletown municipal building at 4 p.m. on the third Sunday of the month, unless otherwise noted.
BucksCo. Lyme was formed in 2008 by Evelyn Throne and Karen Meyers and is a region of the PA Lyme Disease Resource Network, a statewide, nonprofit organization committed to education, patient advocacy, support and prevention of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
“May is Lyme disease awareness month and BucksCo. Lyme wants to help everyone learn more about tick-borne illnesses,” says Throne. “Pennsylvania is the number one state in reported cases of Lyme.” Throne says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that Lyme disease is actually 10 times more common than reported, which translates to more than 120,000 cases in 2016 in Pennsylvania alone.