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Lyme disease: Check for ticks; be vigilant

State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, R-134th, issued the following news release on preventing Lyme disease.

“As you spend time outdoors this summer, it is important to check yourself, loved ones and pets for ticks and be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease and related illnesses, including the rare but dangerous Deer Tick Virus that has been found in ticks at high levels for the first time in multiple locations around Pennsylvania.

“There are no vaccines or medicines for this type of virus, so prevention is the best way to reduce risk of infection and disease.

“The first line of defense against Lyme and other tick-related ailments is to take precautions in the outdoors by treating clothing and gear with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin, using insect repellent and avoiding wooded and brushy areas with high grass or leaf litter.

“When you return indoors, check your clothing, gear and pets for ticks; shower as soon as possible after being outdoors and check your body for ticks, particularly under the arms, in and around the ears, back of the knees and other similar areas.

“If bitten by a tick, an individual should monitor the area for the appearance of a bull’s-eye rash, though the rash does not develop in all cases. Early symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, fatigue, headache and muscle aches. However, symptoms may progress to arthritic, neurological and cardiac issues if not treated.

“If you pull a tick from yourself, a loved one or your pet, you can have it tested to determine if it carries Lyme or other tick-borne diseases. Free tick testing is available at the Pennsylvania Tick Lab at East Stroudsburg University. Learn more about the lab at www.ticklab.org.”

Additional information about Lyme disease symptoms, treatment and prevention is available at www.health.pa.gov.