Today, the Pennsylvania Senate approved a resolution offered by Senator Greenleaf making the Month of May, 2014, Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.
As of 2013, Pennsylvania lead the nation in the number of Lyme Disease cases reported annually. 300,000 Americans are diagnosed each year.
Senator Greenleaf has also authored legislation, SB 177, currently being considered by the House of Representatives to create a task force within the Department of Health to provide greater public awareness and education about Lyme disease. SB 177 was unanimously passed by the Senate on April 29, 2013.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted primarily by ticks. Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases pose a serious threat to the quality of life for Pennsylvanians, with Lyme disease cases increasing dramatically over the past several years.
In 2009 and 2011, Pennsylvania ranked highest in the country in the number of confirmed cases of Lyme disease. From 2002 to 2011, Pennsylvania has reported a total 42,032 confirmed cases of Lyme Disease. According to CDC provisional numbers for 2012, PA has experienced an additional increase to 6,823 cases, again ranking Pennsylvania number one in reported cases. In August 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report that preliminary estimates indicate approximately 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. This is approximately 10 times higher than the number of cases previously reported to the CDC every year.
Senator Greenleaf said, “While Lyme disease is most prevalent in Southeastern PA, it is found, and is increasing, across the Commonwealth. The early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of these tick-borne disorders and diseases can greatly reduce risks of continued symptoms which affect every system and organ in the body. We must ramp up efforts to educate the public on how to prevent this disease while enjoying the outdoors.”