As Tick Population Surges, Casey Urges Centers for Disease Control to Help PA Combat Lyme Disease

Reports Indicate that Warm Winter and Early Spring are Exacerbating Growth of Tick Population

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is urging the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to help Pennsylvania tackle the problem of Lyme disease as reports indicate that a warm winter and spring have increased populations of ticks, which spread the infection.

“Lyme disease is a threat in every corner of Pennsylvania, and residents need to know that the CDC is doing everything in its power to tackle the increase in tick population the warm weather has caused,” said Senator Casey. “Ticks transmit a host of other illnesses in addition to Lyme disease, so it is essential that Pennsylvanians are taking precautions to protect themselves and their families this summer.”  

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, between 3,000 and 5,000 cases are confirmed each year, making it the fourth most commonly reported infectious disease in the state.

Lyme disease poses a significant threat to public health, leading to serious, chronic and debilitating effects if it is not properly diagnosed and treated.

In a letter to the CDC, Senator Casey urged the agency to help Pennsylvania wage an aggressive campaign to ensure that those at risk of Lyme disease know ways to prevent infection as well as ensure that those who are infected receive effective diagnosis and treatment.

Senator Casey’s full letter to CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden is below:

Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH

Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dear Director Frieden:

I write today to express my concerns about the expected growth in the tick population this summer, and the potential increase in Lyme disease cases as a result. The mild winter and early spring experienced in the Northeast over the last year has already led to anecdotal reports of increased tick bites and pets infected with Lyme disease.

Pennsylvania, as you know, has one of the highest rates of Lyme disease in the Nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) statistics, as compiled by the Lyme Disease Association, there were over 60,000 cases of Lyme disease in Pennsylvania between 1990-2010. Lyme disease poses a significant threat to public health, leading to serious, chronic and debilitating effects if it is not properly diagnosed and treated.

Therefore, I respectfully request that CDC offer its assistance to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and local health departments in the State to wage an aggressive and robust campaign to communicate the risks of Lyme disease to Pennsylvanians, and highlight actions to prevent infections and ensure that those who are affected get effective diagnosis and treatment. I would ask that you report back to me your efforts in this regard, and identify how my office can assist you with such efforts. 

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact my legislative assistant, Deirdre Fruh at Deirdre_Fruh@casey.senate.gov or 202-224-6324.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

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