Lyme Disease is of great concern to many residents of Pennsylvania. It is important to remember that even in areas where Lyme Disease is endemic, only 20 – 30% of the ticks are infected with Borrelia burgdorferi and the risk of becoming infected after being bitten by a black legged nymph in a Lyme Disease endemic area is around 1.4%.
There are several steps people can take to prevent getting the disease. Two effective personal protective measures are the use of protective clothing (e.g. long pants, long-sleeved shirts) and the use of tick repellents on clothing or skin. Additional measures that can be taken are the avoidance of areas where ticks are prevalent, frequent self-examination for ticks, the removal of ticks and the treatment of tick bites within 72 hours of a tick bite.
People should be vigilant in putting these steps into practice during the months of May, June, July and August, when contraction of Lyme Disease is most likely to occur and adopt landscaping practices, such as removing brush and leaves between forest and lawn or recreational areas, which can reduce tick populations by 50-90%.